Gilas Pilipinas Men arrived in Belgrade, Serbia at around four in the afternoon of Friday (Manila time).
But the 20-person delegation of the team not only endured a long flight but also a scary moment before landing in the Serbian capital.
Gilas, who left the country at 9:30PM Thursday, was supposed to leave Istanbul, Turkey early in the afternoon before the pilot of their Turkish Airline plane had to abort liftoff seconds before the plane’s wheels were up.
All of the plane’s passengers had to return to the terminal and were asked to disembark.
“It was a scary moment for everyone on board, according to Ms. Yvette Ruiz,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas special assistant to the president Ryan Gregorio.
The team eventually left Istanbul at around 3:50 PM and arrived in Belgrade minutes before 6:00 PM.
“They had to board a different airplane. Thank God they landed safely in Serbia,” added Gregorio.
Dwight Ramos, Angelo Kouame, Justine Baltazar, Kai Sotto, Carl Tamayo, SJ Belangel, RJ Abarrientos, Isaac Go, William Navarro, Mike Nieto, Geo Chiu, and Jordan Heading are the 12 players that will compose Gilas when it takes on Serbia on the 30th and Dominican Republic on July 1 in the Belgrade Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The coaching staff are Tab Baldwin, Jong Uichico, Caloy Garcia, Sandy Arespacochaga, and Sandro Soriano.
Completing the delegation are physical therapist Dex Aseron, compliance officer Yvette Ruiz, and utility man Rolly Arguelles.
The team will be given an RT-PCR test in the hotel. When everyone gets a negative result, they can begin practice at the Aleksandar Nikolić Hall.