Gilas Pilipinas and China will not be leaving the Clark bubble just yet.
The two nations will continue to train even after sweeping their respective groups in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on Sunday. They are now preparing for their respective Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.
And the two sides will be competing in a couple of tune-up games in the following days as part of their OQT preparations.
Just like Gilas, China head coach Du Feng has used this tournament — that saw them play four games in five days — as part of their buildup for the OQT that begins on June 30.
“For this tournament, our priority is for the Asia Cup Qualifier. The second target is the OQT,” he said after their 91-73 rout of Chinese-Taipei.
Du will no longer bring in new players for the OQT. Instead, he will be sticking with the 15 men that led them to a 4-0 slate in Clark.
The players are Zhou Qi, Wu Qian, Zhou Peng, Liu Chuanxing, Shen Zijie, Ren Junfei, Zhang Zhenlin, Zhu Mingzhen, Zhao Jiwei, Hu Mingxuan, Lu Wenbo, Zhao Yanhao, Wu Qian, Xu Jie, and Wang Shaojie.
“I think for the roster, more or less, we will keep the same roster. A lot of the guys are young. But in Canada, we will be playing against NBA pros and a lot of international players in their respective leagues,” bared Du, a former national team player himself.
“It will be tough, but I have confidence in my players that they will not be afraid. I believe that they can have better performance about the players.”
Come the Victoria OQT, Team Dragon will be facing Greece and Canada. The top two teams will figure in a crossover knockout playoffs with the best two of Uruguay, Czech Republic, and Turkey.
There is one Olympic slot at stake.
That is why for Du, playing against Gilas — a team that swept Group A and will also compete in the Belgrade OQT — will benefit both national teams.
“As you know, after today’s games, we will be staying for the next five days before flying to Canada. In the following days, we have the support from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to play two tune-up games. Gilas played good games in this tournament,” he remarked.
“For these two games, it will be a good experience for us before flying to Canada.”