Gilas Pilipinas conducted its first practice under head coach Chot Reyes Monday night, 15 August at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City.
Joining Reyes as members of the coaching staff during the behind-closed-doors session were Barangay Ginebra San Miguel mentor Tim Cone and Gilas assistant coach Josh Reyes.
In attendance from the national pool were the Ravena brothers, Kiefer and Thirdy, Dwight Ramos, Bobby Ray Parks, Kevin Quiambao, Carl Tamayo, Calvin Oftana, Jamie Malonzo, Kevin Alas and Francis Lopez.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executive Director Sonny Barrios dropped by practice and assured the players of the whole basketball community’s support and prayers.
Several more players, especially from the pros, are expected to show up in practice as Gilas Pilipinas buckles down in preparation for two qualifiers highlighting the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup set 25 August to 10 September next year.
Bannering the national team for the fourth window are NBA star Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz and seven-foot NBA hopeful Kai Sotto.
The Philippine team flies to Beirut to take on 2022 FIBA Asia Cup silver medalist Lebanon on 25 August and then returns home to host Saudi Arabia at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on 29 August.
The first day of practice covered shooting drills with several variations and fast ball movement, with Cone, a two-time Grand Slam champion coach in the Philippine Basketball Association, providing inputs.
The country is co-hosting the 19th edition of the FIBA World Cup along with Japan and Indonesia. The Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, SM MOA Arena in Pasay City and Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City will witness the clash of 16 countries from the original 32 qualifiers, all the way to the final, while eight teams each will be housed with the two co-hosts.