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Gilas gets down to business

The progress that we want is to play better in the sixth window than we played in the fifth window

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes wants the team to become versatile, adaptable and agile by the time it faces a pair of Middle East powerhouse squads in the sixth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on home soil towards the end of the month.

“That’s part of the growth and the development of the team,” Reyes told Daily Tribune as he and Gilas brace for the unpredictable nature of international basketball.

“That’s what international competition is all about. You’ll never know who will be available. You’ll never know who’s going to be your opponents. To be successful, you have to be adaptable.”

Gilas locks horns with Lebanon on 24 February and then tackles Jordan on 27 February.

Both games will be played at the massive Philippine Arena, where only weeks ago, Game 7 of the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup Game 7 starring Barangay Ginebra and Bay Area drew 54,589 fans.

As this developed, the resumption of the national training team’s Monday practice sessions gets under way again at the Meralco Gym.

Expected to show up are the battle-scarred campaigners of the Commissioner’s Cup championship series.

Six-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo and two-time scoring champion CJ Perez of San Miguel and the Ginebra quarter of reigning MVP Scottie Thompson, three-time Best Import awardee Justin Brownlee and Japeth Aguilar and Jamie Malonzo lead the cast.

Joining them are other pool members Chris Newsome and Raymond Almazan of Meralco, Arvin Tolentino of NorthPort, Roger Pogoy and Calvin Oftana of TNT, former collegiate standouts Carl Tamayo and Schonny Winston and the youngest player in the pool, Mason Amos of Ateneo.

A few more additional players might be able to rejoin the pool’s training, including Ateneo’s Ange Kouame, Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player.

Gilas beat Jordan, 74-66, and Saudi Arabia, 76-63, during the fifth window last November.

This is going to be Brownlee’s debut as a Gilas dribbler and Reyes is looking forward to the opportunity to mentor the six-time PBA champion alongside the country’s best and the brightest.

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