GILAS cadets coach Jong Uichico said he isn’t worried about the performance of the team in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, preferring to look at the bigger picture.
The Gilas pool formed for the 2023 Fiba Basketball World Cup has only come up with one victory in five games in the Filoil Cup, suffering letdowns against teams it was supposed to beat handily.
“Winning is a priority but it’s not the only priority,” said Uichico when SPIN.ph caught up with him during a Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) coaching clinic in Las Pinas City this weekend.
Gilas, featuring highly rated youngsters like Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero and Isaac Go, has suffered losses to UAAP champion Ateneo, runner-up La Salle and NCAA champion San Beda.
On Tuesday, Gilas stumbled to its fourth loss as University of the Philippines fought back from 16 points down to beat the cadets.
“Of course, kami, like any other fan of the Gilas cadets, gusto naming manalo. Pero siyempre, you also have to look at the constraints and the purpose of why we joined the Filoil tournament. There are constraints that we are encountering and there is also a purpose for joining the Filoil tournament other than winning the championship,” said Uichico.
As the team builds a pool for the future, Uichico said one of the main goals of playing in the Filoil to develop cohesiveness.
“The purpose is getting them together, unang-una, because they haven’t played with each other. May mga magkakampi pero most of the time naman, they are playing in different schools so this is really the very first time that they will play together as a team. That is one,” said Uichico.
“The second one, another advantage is that because of the set-up, we can play different people in different positions. Mahirap din mag-eksperimento if you are pressured to win.
“Why do we have to be pressured to win if it’s time to experiment for the future. ‘Yun ang purpose namin dito in joining tournaments. It’s really to experiment, give players exposure, and getting them together,” Uichico said.
So far, Uichico said he likes what he sees in his players responding to playing in different positions.
“Maganda naman ’yung set-up sa amin. Yes, minsan kulang ’yung players namin but at the same time, it gives us time to play the others in different positions so that makita namin kung anong positions sila kumportable or we can improve them in that position especially if we see that in the future, ‘yun ang position na ilalaro nila,” said Uichico.