LA Tenorio is confident Gilas Pilipinas will be ready for the Fiba Asia tournament after completing its six-game trip in New Zealand.
The 5-foot-8 Barangay Ginebra star said playing against five teams from New Zealand culminating in a highly-physical match against the national team known as Tall Blacks, gave them an opportunity to improve on their defensive schemes.
“Masasabi kong na-meet namin yung objective ng pagpunta namin sa New Zealand, especially yung sa last game namin against the Tall Blacks. Yun naman ang reason kung bakit kami nagpunta ng New Zealand eh,” Tenorio told Spin.ph on Saturday, just hours after arriving from New Zealand.
The cat-quick Gilas playmaker said the bond of the team grew further during their 10-day sojourn in New Zealand, another positive for a team that was only formed officially during the early part of June.
Gilas coach Chot Reyes assembled the national pool together before flying to the seaside resort town of Palanga, Lithuania for a two-week boot camp and seven-game tune up with various club teams last month.
Gilas compiled a 5-2 record in the Lithuania trip, while learning some offensive schemes from former Lithuanian national coach Kestutis Kemzura as well.
“Si coach K (Kemzura), more on skills and offense yung ine-emphasize niya sa amin. Si coach Tab (Baldwin, former national coach of New Zealand, Jordan and Lebanon) naman, yung defense ang tinuro niya. Tinuruan niya rin kaming maglaro ng physical,” said the 29-year-old Ginebra guard.
Tenorio said he’ll take the time to be with his family over the weekend before Gilas resumes its final Fiba-Asia men’s championship build up on Monday when the national team gathers again for the regular practice.
Gilas registered a 3-3 record in its six-game trip in New Zealand, beginning with back-to-back wins against the Tab Baldwin-mentored Hawke’s Bay Hawks, dropped close decisions to the NBL All Stars (85-86) and the Wellington Saints (96-100).
The national team then bounced back by routing club team Super City Rangers in Auckland, 95-77, before bowing to the Tall Blacks, 76-77.