Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin says one of the national basketball team’s strengths so far is that the squad has had relatively more preparation time than other countries, and he hopes the team takes advantage of the situation.
“Our strength should be we can be more cohesive than a lot of the other countries if we can get more preparation time,” Baldwin said.
Unlike other participating countries in the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, whose players are scattered across the globe suiting up for different professional club teams, Baldwin says the fourth iteration of Gilas has had the opportunity to develop more chemistry, given every senior player in the pool plays in just one Manila-based league.
With the Philippines also hosting one of the three OQTs, Baldwin says they have to make the most out of the longer time together.
“We have to use that. That’s what we’re focusing on tonight. If we don’t, then we don’t have anybody to blame for what could be our biggest strength slip away from us,” Baldwin shared Monday night.
The mentor, who led the Philippines to a silver medal in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship, also opened up on planned tune-up games, saying Gilas are eyeing a few exhibition matches against high-caliber squads.
“One abroad for sure, tournaments, not so much. More of isolated games. There’s just not enough time,” Baldwin said of Gilas’ planned training camps.
“The teams that are participating in the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments are really stressed at the time, because they are getting their players directly after professional season, their training camps are two to three weeks long only, so there’s not a lot of time to prepare, even preparation games. There are some teams going to the Olympics, they have enough more luxury of time. So we are hoping to get some games against OQT teams and some Olympic-bound teams.”
The team is already in the process of trying to organize a few tune-up games, and Baldwin looks forward to Gilas playing better in those preparation games before the OQTs kick off in July.
“We do, we are not announcing it yet. But we have some confirmed, it’s going to be really exciting. We are going to equal the caliber of the few teams we are going to play in our preparation games. I absolutely believe we need to do that. I am not looking for easy wins. Wins are really irrelevant until July 5th, July 6th.”