GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin continues to temper expectations as his squad embarks on its first real test at the William Jones Cup in Chinese Taipei this weekend.
The Filipino dribblers left for Taiwan via an EVA Air flight on Friday afternoon and Baldwin is hardly concerned about the results they will put up in the annual tournament which Gilas won the last time in competed in Taipei in 2012.
The top priority, Baldwin insisted, is their preparations for the Fiba Asia Championship next month.
“I don’t have expectations,” Baldwin said. “I just want us to play well and continue to grow as a team. The only thing I’m concerned about is winning the gold medal in Fiba Asia. Everything that leads up to that is about getting better.”
Gilas braces for a grueling schedule that will see them play eight games in the same number of days, opening its campaign against Team A of the host nation on Sunday at 9 p.m.
That should be a grudge match for the two rivals - their first since Chinese-Taipei beat Gilas before its home fans during the preliminaries of the Fiba Asia championships in Manila back in 2013.
The Nationals next play Korea on Monday, Russia on Tuesday, Japan on Wednesday, Iran on Thursday, New Zealand on Friday, and US on Saturday, before they wrap it up against Team B of Taipei on Sunday.
“It’s not about trying to get a win or trying to get a result,” said Baldwin, whose squad is coming off a winless stint in a pocket tournament in Estonia last week.
“If it happens – and obviously we try to win every game that we play – it’s a bonus,” the American-Kiwi mentor added. “What we’ve got to do is become a team that can win the Fiba Asia.”
Here's the schedule of Gilas in the Jones Cup: