GILAS Pilipinas' preparations for the 2023 Fiba World Cup shifts into high gear and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is planning camps in the US and Europe.
"We've been out of basketball for like three weeks now and coach Tab [Baldwin] gave me a laundry list of possible tournaments that we can join. There might be out of the country gigs, too, and part of it is probably some tours in the US and also some European gigs as well," said Ryan Gregorio, the special assistant to the SBP president.
Gilas was drawn into Group A of the 2023 Fiba World Cup qualifiers with New Zealand, Korea, and India.
Gregorio admits they face major obstacles, especially with the COVID-19 restrictions.
"I think the most important thing right now is for us to adapt with the prevailing situation," he said.
"I think the circumstances, it has not changed from 12 months ago. I think the pandemic is still there and what we need to understand is we are not the only country suffering from this kind of an environment. So we have to be continuously creative on how we can move forward with our preparations."
The SBP looks to officially resume Gilas training in October as it braces for the first window of the qualifiers in November, which in theory should be a home-and-away series yet could still be shifted into a bubble setup.
Gilas then enters a busy 2022 which will have four windows of competitions in the Asian qualifiers, as well as the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam, the Fiba Asia Cup in Indonesia, and the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
"Every month, we have something lined up for and that is part of the conversation that we have with coach Tab," said Gregorio.
"Preparing for every window is very important for us. That will lead us to our journey towards going into 2023. So again, a lot of experience will be generated by our players because of playing against tough competitions here and around the world."
The SBP said it is moving heaven and earth to make everything happen for Gilas as it seeks to form a competent and competitive team for the 2023 Fiba World Cup in two years' time.
"Coach Tab and I, and of course the rest of his coaching staff and our boss Al Panlilio are always talking about how are we going to move forward? How are we going to be better compared to our last performance? And the best thing there is when are we going to start practicing again?," he said. "Everything we're doing is just to strengthen our team and to make sure that we will continuously improve towards 2023."