COMING off a rigorous New Zealand trip, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes feels the team’s defense stills needs continues improvement with less than two weeks before the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship.
Reyes saw a lot of upsides in the six-game series where the nationals finished with an even 3-3 record, primarily the improved health and fine showing of naturalized big man Marcus Douthit.
“Positives are Marcus’ game and the physicality we played with ... we need to continue working on consistency of our D,” Reyes said in a text message from New Zealand.
The 6-foot-10 Douthit returned from a two-game absence to score 28 points and grab 14 rebounds in Gilas’ close 76-77 loss to the Tall Blacks in the team’s final tune-up game in New Zealand.
Owing to a recurring back problem, Douthit sat out the national squad’s two close losses against the NBL All Stars (85-86) and the Wellington Saints (96-100) early this week.
Gilas have two more tune-up matches next week, one against the PBA All-Star selection on July 24 at the Mall of Asia Arena, before going up against the Kazakhstan national team on July 26 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
From there, Gilas wraps up its training and prepare for the much-awaited Fiba-Asia tournament, where the top three finishers will earn automatic berths to the World Championship in Spain next year.