THE two-week training camp undergone by Gilas Pilipinas in Lithuania has been helpful, but not enough to put the nationals in top shape for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship.
Shortly upon arrival in the country, L.A. Tenorio bared the nationals still need more exhibition matches apart from the seven tune-up games they played in the Baltic State, including two against Lithuania's Under-20 team.
“Kulang na kulang na nga kami sa oras eh tapos di pa natuloy ang Jones Cup kaya kailangan namin ng maraming tune-up games,” Tenorio told Spin.ph, still fresh from the team’s 23-hour trip from Lithuania together with the rest of the Gilas national squad.
Playing together as a team for the first time since being assembled by coach Chot Reyes last February, the Filipinos managed to win five of their seven tune-up matches against different Lithuanian club teams.
“Di mo naman masasabing mga athletic or that talented, pero lumalaro sila sa strength nila. Magaling din sila sa defense. Solid `yung sistema nila,” observed the 28-year-old Tenorio, the Best Player of the Conference in the recent PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Tenorio added the things the nationals learned from former Lithuanian national coach Kestutis Kemzura would be of help for Gilas, which is eyeing at least a top three finish in the Fiba-Asia joust to get an opportunity to play in the Fiba-World Championship next year in Spain.
“Magaling si coach K (Kemzura). In-emphasize niya `yung importance ng basics, `yung pagbasa sa depensa saka may mga tinuro siyang shooting drills saka footwork sa amin,” added last year’s MVP of the William Jones Cup basketball tournament.
Gilas will take a three-day break and will resume practicing on Friday.
The nationals are then slated to take on a PBA selection in a series of tune-up matches to be played in Davao, Cebu, and Mall of Asia Arena.
Also in their calendar is a trip to Las Vegas where they hope to play against NBA summer league teams.