AT least for a three-month stretch, it’s going to be all work and no play for Gilas Pilipinas.
Coach Chot Reyes has laid out a compact schedule for the nationals as they gear up for the Fiba-World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea that will see them practically on the road from the end of July until the start of October.
If everything goes according to plan, the national team will be leaving for Spain on July 31 to start its training camp for the World Cup before coming back to the country by October 5 or shortly after the Asiad.
“The important thing is that you start preparing yourself and your family because that is our schedule for now,” Reyes said as he egged on his players - including the latest additions to the 17-man pool - on the first day of training by Gilas for the world basketball championship.
Paul Lee, Jarred Dillinger, Marcio Lassiter, Beau Belga, and Greg Slaughter, the five players added by Reyes to the Gilas pool, are also set to join the team in Spain and Korea.
Team manager Aboy Castro said Gilas is also looking at the possibility of going to Korea first before proceeding to training camp in Spain, although nothing is definite at this point.
What is certain, for now, is the nationals’ scheduled tune-up games in Spain against fellow World Cup qualifiers Dominican Republic, Turkey, and Finland, according to Castro.
The World Cup is set on August 31 to September 14.
Reyes said from Spain, the national team will fly directly to Incheon for the Asiad slated from September 19 to October 4.
“Whatever it is we finished (in the World Cup), we’re going to stay in Spain, and then we fly to Korea September 14 or 15. We want to be in Korea at least three days before the Asian Games," said the national coach.
“So balik natin dito is October 5 na. That’s the schedule we have for now.”
Reyes added he’s also looking to field Gilas in the Fiba-Asia Cup to be held in China from July 11-19, although he’s not certain if the nationals would already be available by that time.
“With the way the PBA schedule is shaping up, I really don’t know if we can do that,” he said.
But Reyes added Gilas really needs to play a lot of tune-up games for the team to be really in shape for the two major tournaments it is joining.
“I’d rather that we be able to play a lot of games than not play at all.”