Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio said that the federation is now working on Gilas Pilipinas’ trip to Russia as part of the national team’s buildup for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China in August.
An earlier report said that SBP was reconsidering going to Russia as the initial plan was just one tuneup, but Panlilio said that the Russian Basketball Federation, headed by Andrei Kirilenko, is willing to expand it two games.
“We’re organizing that now. I’m in touch with AK. He wants us to go to Russia,” bared Panlilio after SBP’s unveiling of its new logos Wednesday evening. “Initially, it was just a one-game trip. Sabi ko mahirap naman kung one game lang.
“They’re willing to expand to two games.”
Panlilio said that Gilas’ Russian trip might be in August, or near the commencement of the World Cup at August 31. But they have yet to finalize such with the Russian Federation, the amiable executive added.
“It’s really towards the latter part of August, closer to the World Cup. That’s something we’re trying to finalize with him, kay AK,” said Panlilio.
“I hope we can finalize that in the next few days.”
Aside from Russia, Panlilio said that the SBP is also looking at Spain for tune-ups also in August — Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao has already expressed before that he would want the Nationals to gear up in August on a full-time basis.
“We’re also looking at Spain for potential friendlies also,” Panlilio said. “What we presented to the [PBA] board is Yeng wanted to have a full time in August — assess where we are, do his adjustments maybe in a two, three-week period.
“And then, go to the last friendly to really get ready for World Cup,” he added.
Meanwhile, Gilas Pilipinas Youth’s preparations for the FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup on June 29 to July 7 set to be held in Heraklion, Greece have already been ironed out, as per head coach Sandy Arespacochaga.
Gilas Youth will be going to Doha, Qatar to take part in pocket tournaments as part of their buildup for the World Cup, where they got bundled in a tough group with Argentina, Greece, and Russia, which are all in the Top 20 of FIBA Boys.
Another welcome development for the youth team is that AJ Edu, Dalph Panopio, and Kai Sotto will all be arriving soon to rejoin Gilas Youth.
Fil-Nigerian Edu, who’s currently playing for NCAA Division 1 school Toledo, is set to arrive in June, as Fil-Italian Panopio will be joining the team in Doha. Edu and Panopio have played together in the 2018 FIBA Asia U-18 Championships.
Sotto, meanwhile, is still in the US as part of his training for his Europe stint. The 7-foot-2 wunderkind from the Ateneo Blue Eaglets program has already committed before he left the country that he will join Gilas Youth for the World Cup.
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