IF Ranidel de Ocampo would have his way, he wants Gilas Pilipinas to start playing together in the PBA Governors Cup as guest team as it builds up for the Fiba-World Cup and the Asian Games.
De Ocampo, the 6-foot-5 forward of Talk ‘N Text, said training early for both major international meets is the best way to get the nationals ready for the “biggest basketball war” of their lives.
“Di na rin naman kasi biro 'yung makakalaban namin. Malalakas na sila (Fiba-World Cup opponents) saka malalaki, so kailangan ding maglaro kami,” De Ocampo told Spin.ph before proceeding to the Tuesday practice of Talk ‘N Text.
“Sa tingin ko, maganda talaga na i-pull out na lang kami sa teams (to play for Gilas).”
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) earlier suggested that Gilas be included as guest team in the season-ending conference to prepare the team for the world cage meet and the Asiad to be held in Spain and Incheon, South Korea, respectively.
PBA chairman Ramon Segismundo later proposed it to the board of governors, which convenes on Thursday to decide on the matter.
De Ocampo cited the early training Gilas Pilipinas had last year for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship, which the former St. Francis of Assisi stalwart said yielded positive result following the country’s surprising runner-up finish behind champion Iran.
“Maganda naman and resulta (ng Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship). Nag-training kami sa Lithuania and New Zealand. May mga tinalo rin kaming malalakas na teams dun,” added the sweet-shooting forward, who averaged 8.2 points and shot 42 percent from the three-point zone during the Fiba-World Cup qualifier in Manila last year.
The national squad’s semifinal victory over longtime Asian rival South Korea paved the way for the return of the country to the world championship for the first time since 1978, the year the Philippines last hosted the event.
Gilas is slated to play a total of 15 tune-up matches as it prepares for the Fiba-World Cup set from August 30 to September 14.