Gilas Pilipinas trained for the second time in preparation for the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on 24 and 27 February at the Philippine Arena.
Gilas coach Chot Reyes liked what he saw.
Reyes said he is happy with the progress of Gilas Pilipinas, especially the young guns who are determined to make their debut in the international arena.
Among the newbies who showed up in the squad’s Monday night training at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City were incoming Ateneo de Manila University slotman Mason Amos and former De La Salle University playmaker Schonny Winston.
Also in attendance were Gilas mainstay Carl Tamayo as well as Philippine Basketball Association players Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar and Jamie Malonzo of Barangay Ginebra, June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez of San Miguel, Arvin Tolentino of NorthPort, Chris Newsome and Raymond Almazan of Meralco and Roger Pogoy of TNT.
Naturalized player Justin Brownlee of Ginebra was also there while other young guns such as Jerom Lastimosa of Adamson University, Kevin Quiambao of La Salle, and Francis Lopez of University of the Philippines were absent as they are in Dubai to compete for Strong Group Realty in the 32nd Dubai Basketball International Championship.
“We have several new guys, first-timers here are Schonny Winston and Mason Amos, and we have the Meralco guys, Almazan and Newsome, who are both coming back,” Reyes told Daily Tribune following their weekly session.
“We’re making slow progress in our preparation. But hopefully, we’ll be more advanced.”
The Filipinos may have already punched their slots in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, but they are out to finish their campaign in the qualifiers with a bang.
They will face bitter nemesis Lebanon on 24 February before tackling dangerous Jordan on 27 February for a win that will definitely boost their confidence heading into their hosting of the world’s most prestigious basketball event.
Reyes said the presence of the young players in the pool assures them the program will continue — not just for the World Cup — but even after it.
“As for the young guys, we brought them in because we wanted to always have a pipeline of players not necessarily now, but for the future,” Reyes said.