Gilas Pilipinas to face quality competition in tune-up games, assures coach Tab Baldwin
Gilas Pilipinas is expected to have tune-up games against Olympic-bound teams. Jerome Ascaño

GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin confirmed the national team’s schedule to face quality competition in preparation for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in July.

While declining to announce the opponents, the national coach bared they will have tune-up games against Olympic-bound teams and some squads participating in the qualifiers.

“We have some confirmed. It’s going to be really exciting,” Baldwin said on Monday after practice. “We are going to equal the caliber of the OQT teams that we’re going to play with our preparation games.”

“I absolutely believe that we need to do that,” he added. “I’m not looking for easy wins. In fact, wins are very irrelevant to me until July.”

Baldwin said they have already one tune-up tournament abroad slated.

“But tournaments, not so much,” the American-Kiwi mentor said. “They’re more isolated games.”

“There’s just not enough time,” he added. “The teams that are participating in the Olympic qualifiers are really pressed for time because they’re getting their players directly from professional seasons and their camps may be two to three weeks long only.

“And so there’s not a lot of time to prepare even to play preparation games.”

The countries that are already assured of spots in the Rio Olympics, though, have more time to prepare.

“They have a little bit more luxury time, so we’re hoping to get some games against both: some OQT teams and some Olympic-bound teams,” Baldwin said.

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