COACH Chot Reyes said the charity game pitting Gilas Pilipinas against a team of NBA stars will definitely be a boost to the nationals as it prepares to go up against bigger opponents in the Fiba-World Cup in Spain.
Reyes said playing against top-notch players from the NBA will help get Gilas accustomed to the high level of play in the world basketball championship set from August 30 to September 14.
The Philippines is bracketed in Group B with Argentina, Senegal, Puerto Rico, Greece, and Croatia.
“It’s going to be a big help for the national team. To get guys that are athletically gifted and talented, I want them to get that opportunity,” said Reyes during the press conference for the exhibition match at the NBA Café on Monday.
San Antonio Spurs forward and NBA Finals MVP Kahwi Leonard leads the cast of NBA players who will suit up for the All-Stars. He will play alongside Blake Griffin, James Harden, Damian Lillard, Tyson Chandler, Ed Davis, Paul George, Terrence Ross, DeMar DeRozan, Nick Johnson, and Kyle Lowry.
The July 22 and 23 matches at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum will be Gilas' last at home before the national squad heads overseas for training on its way to Spain.
Former NBA star and skills coach John Lucas is also in town to share his knowledge with Gilas Pilipinas, which is coming off a bronze medal finish in the Fiba-Asia Cup in Wuhan, China.
“It’s special for me to get a chance to work with the national team and play friendlies before they compete in Spain,” said Lucas.