FOR the first time since training camp started over two weeks ago, Gilas Pilipinas had a 10-minute scrimmage on Friday night to cap off practice at the Meralco gym.
After being limited to drills and half-court work that familiarized themselves with the system of coach Tab Baldwin, the nationals finally engaged in a full-court, 5-on-5 game where they applied what they learned.
They Said It!
“Ano ba ang plano ng PBA sa SMC? Dapat kasi may superiority dito. As a fan, Nafu-frustrate talaga ako. Kung takot kayo sa SMC, buwagin niyo nalang ang PBA. As a player, walang point ang carreer mo kung hindi mo mare-represent yung country if may oppurtunity na dumating sa'yo. Ang USA po ay my 30+ applicants for the national team nila. kung tutuusin, dominante na ang mga players at no need na ang strong efforts, but still makikita mo pa rin yung suporta ng mga players." - Wendell BeNas
Despite having two more scrimmages on Saturday afternoon, Baldwin admitted the team is way behind in its preparations with a little over a month left before the Fiba Asia Men’s Championship in Changsha, China unfolds.
“We’ve had two very disruptive weeks of practice, so I’d like to be much further down the road than we are,” the American-Kiwi mentor said. “We’ve hardly got any two-a-days in and we didn’t get a camp in.”
By that, don’t expect Gilas to play fluid basketball in a pocket tournament in Estonia next week.
“These games in Estonia, they might not be very pretty,” Baldwin said. “But the big thing for me is that we’re making progress.”
“I know what’s going to happen when these guys put those uniforms on: they’re going to want to stretch themselves out and play full steam ahead, but actually I’m going to want to rein them in a little bit, because we want to be efficient,” he added.
Gilas will play Netherlands, Iceland, and the host nation in the three-day tourney starting August 20.
“I know we’re going to put our hearts into it when it counts, but when we’re putting our hearts into it, a lot of times our mind doesn’t get into it,” Baldwin said. “And at this stage, we need our mind more than our heart.”
They Said It!
“It's better to have the bad stuff come first before the actual tournament." - Chard Santos
“That might mean we don’t play at our best,” he added. “But I’m okay with that as long as we improve and as long as we grow.”
They could’ve also expedited their progress with a separate training camp in Turkey, which was, however, cancelled.
“It has affected us,” Baldwin said. “But how much remains to be seen.”