GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin is set to shorten his rotation as the national team steps up its buildup for the Fiba Asia Championship by taking part in the Master Game Face MVP Cup that unfolds on Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
After experimenting on combinations in the Jones Cup, Baldwin is expected to be stricter in his rotations in the three-day four-team pocket tournament.
“There won’t be as much rotation of minutes,” the American-Kiwi mentor admitted in the press launch on Thursday. “We have to start sharpening the pencil now and we have to start focusing more on situational plays, and which are the best offensive five or the best defensive five or the best rebounding five – whatever we identify in the flow of the game needed out on the floor.”
Baldwin hinted the rotations he will use in the MVP Cup will probably be the same combinations he is expected to field in the Fiba Asia tilt that dangles a lone ticket to the Rio Olympics next year.
“We really just rotated the minutes (in the Jones Cup), tried to give everybody the opportunity to learn the system, play in the system, and also to impress the coaches so that we could make the best selections for the Final twelve.”
“Now, there’s a changing of philosophy.”
Gilas opens its campaign against a Talk ‘N Text side featuring national pool members and touted rookies Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario.
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. in a match preceded by a game between a club from New Zealand and the Chinese Taipei national team.
“They’re significantly diminished,” Baldwin said of the reigning PBA Commissioner’s Cup champion side that’s without Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser.
“But they’re still a good group and they’ll play tough,” said Baldwin, who is also a consultant of Talk 'N Text when out of Gilas duty. “Coach Jong (Uichico) and coach Nash (Racela) do a great job preparing them.”
Tropang Texters wingman Larry Fonacier promised to bring their A-game – all for the benefit of the national team.
“We just want to be competitive to help Gilas,” the former Gilas sniper said.