AWARE it is undersized compared to the rest of the Fiba-Asia field, Gilas Pilipinas is working on improving one of its major assets and turning it into a potent weapon.
“Alam namin malalaki ang mga kalaban, pero kailangan namin daanin sa bilis kasi maliliit kami,” admitted forward Marc Pingris of the competition awaiting the nationals 26 days from now which serves as the qualifier for next year’s Fiba-World Championship.
Aside from the twice-a-day practices of the nationals, Pingris is doing extra workout to be in perfect shape for the August 1-11 tournament.
“Kaya ako nag-e-extra workout gaya ng plyometrics saka weights. Kino-kondisyon ko talaga ang katawan dahil alam ko mas malalaki ang mga makakabangga ko. Idadaan ko na lang talaga sa bilis,” said the veteran big man out of PSBA.
Pingris added even the two-week training camp the nationals underwent in Lithuania under former national coach Kestutis Kemzura was a big help in enhancing the team’s quickness especially on defense.
“Ini-emphasize kasi ni coach sa amin `yung quick rotation sa defense. Malaki din `yung naitulong ni coach K (Kemzura) sa amin na nagagamit naming ngayon sa practice,” said the 6-foot-5 San Mig Coffee star.
The way the team has been going now after a month of being together, Pingris is convinced Gilas Pilipinas is up to the task despite the expected world-class competition and added pressure of playing on home soil.
“Maganda ang tinatakbo ng team sa practice,” he said.
Pingris expects the nationals to get even better as they leave next Tuesday for a 10-day training camp and series of tune-up matches in different cities in New Zealand.
The trip will be their final buildup for the Fiba-Asia cage joust.