HEAD coach Jamike Jarin hopes the Under-17 national team's tune-up games against older opponents will pay off when it takes on powerhouse sides in the Fiba World U17 World Championship in Dubai.
The Philippine team will leave for Dubai on Wednesday for the August 8-16 event where the Batang Gilas is bracketed with top-caliber sides United States, Angola, and Greece in Group A.
To get used to playing against top-caliber teams, the Batang Gilas squad had tune-up games with the Chinese Taipei Under-18 team and the visiting Athletics In Action (AIA) side composed of players from the US NCAA and the NBA D-League.
The Batang Gilas beat the Taiwanese but lost to AIA, 117-52, at the Far Eastern University-Diliman gym.
Jarin, however, was happy with the results.
“They (Batang Gilas) controlled the entire game (against Chinese Taipei). Medyo getting into the groove pa sila kaya we took advantage," said Jarin.
"Against AIA, we started out bad. Na-intimidate din kasi sila dahil malalaki,” he added. “Pero at least, magandang experience para sa mga bata. In fact, ‘yun ang reason to accept that tune-up game.”
Despite the daunting task ahead, Jarin said Batang Gilas is looking forward to playing the best teams in the world.
Even if they fail to advance to the knockout stage, the Philippines will still play a lot of games in the classification round where it will vie for the ninth to 16th places.
“We are in high spirits and very excited. We are making history. Like what I’ve been saying, we will be very competitive and show our hearts to the entire world,” said Jarin.