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Maintaining U16 team, Gilas Boys bank on chemistry for FIBA U-17 World Cup

Gilas Pilipinas Boys will bank on chemistry when they face the biggest challenge of their young lives at the FIBA Under-17 World Cup.

The Philippines, which will head to Turkey to compete in the global meet set from June 29 to July 7, has been training hard for the past couple of months in preparation for their showdowns against European champion Spain, Lithuania, and Puerto Rico.

Head coach Josh Reyes decided to bring the band back together for the World Cup.

Kieffer Alas, Elijah Williams, Edryn Morales, and Bonn Daja will lead the team.

Completing the squad are holdovers like Kurt Velasquez, Joaquin Ludovice, CJ Amos, Irus Chua, Sam Alegre, Paul Diao, Noah Banal, and Jaime Gomez de Liano.

All of them were the ones who carried the team to the World Cup after a fourth-place finish in the Asian Championship a year ago.

“It’s about recognizing the time and commitment they’ve invested. They’ve dedicated themselves to the program without expecting financial rewards or special concessions. Some even juggle daily practices with their mother teams. For our players abroad, they had to cover their own travel expenses to join us last year and again this year,” said Reyes.

“Such dedication is commendable, and I want their efforts to be meaningful. While I’m open to new players joining us, I also believe in rewarding those who have consistently shown commitment and dedication.”

2024-FIBA-U17-World-Cup-Gilas-Pilipinas-Boys Maintaining U16 team, Gilas Boys bank on chemistry for FIBA U-17 World Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports newsGilas Boys played tune-up matches against collegiate squads while also holding a bubble camp at Inspire Sports Academy.

It’s the team’s dedication to flag and country that makes Reyes and his staff proud.

#ReadMore  Chot Reyes stresses: 'Gilas is my priority'

“I believe I’ve emphasized the importance of certain aspects, such as chemistry, relationships with players, and their commitment. For me, commitment, sacrifice, and the time invested in the program should hold significant value. These players have shown dedication in all these areas. We may not always have the most talented individuals, but my hope is to build a team that consistently plays together and plays the right way,” he said.

“Whether we’re in a close game or facing a large deficit, we aim to field a team that sticks together and plays with integrity, regardless of the circumstances. This cohesion is crucial for us. We won’t win solely based on talent; our strength lies in our team effort.”

Facing NBA prospects daily at the World Cup, including Spain’s backcourt duo Gildas Gimenez and Guillermo del Pino, Lithuania’s 6-foot-7 big Arturas Butajevas, and Puerto Rico’s promising guard Felipe Quinones, Reyes stressed the need for a collective team effort.

“That’s why we’ve chosen to maintain our core group. While there are many talented players out there, logistical challenges such as school schedules often prevent them from joining us for our practices. Despite this, we continue to build upon our system, adding layers from last year to improve for the World Cup. I know it will be a challenging journey, but that’s our current situation,” he said.

“There’s a wealth of talent here, and I see these players as the future of Philippine basketball.”

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