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Gilas Pilipinas wants long prep

Gilas Pilipinas is looking to come up with a long preparation to gain a strong chance of winning in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup that the country will co-host with Indonesia and Japan from 23 August to 10 September.

Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said they want to have a preparation of three months — or maybe more — to gear up for the toughest basketball competition in the world.

Reyes said preparation had been vital to Gilas success in the World Cup.

In fact, when the Filipinos made a return to the World Cup in 2014, they had a long preparation that gave them a chance to train in Europe and compete in various pocket tournaments against the best teams in the world.

On the contrary, the Gilas squad handled by Yeng Guiao in the World Cup in 2019 barely had enough time to prepare as the federation was still adjusting to the new cycle of the World Cup, which just adapted different window tournaments.

“We played so well in 2014 because of the quality of preparation,” Reyes, the mastermind behind the country’s return to the World Cup in 2014, said.

“We were able to spend a full month with Andray Blatche as a team, as a unit. Then, we were able to train in Miami and we flew to Spain early. We had nice tune-up games and pocket tournaments in France and then another pocket tournament in Guadalajara and they were a fitting workout.”

Reyes said the long preparation toughened up the Gilas group bannered by Jimmy Alapag, Marc Pingris, Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood and Japeth Aguilar.

“When we were getting clobbered, we were fighting back,” he said.

“Then, we went to New Zealand and we played the Tall Blacks. With that kind of preparation, it showed in the way you played. We want to replicate, if not improve, on that kind of preparation and, hopefully, we can come in and play basketball in that kind of level.”

To give Gilas more time to prepare, the Philippine Basketball Association agreed to adjust its calendar and even sacrificed one full conference to make the players available for the national team.

Outside of the weekly Monday practices, the PBA will wrap up its 47th season by May and Reyes and the coaching staff can now start selecting the players who will comprise the national squad.

The PBA will resume the season after the World Cup.

Reyes said they have to wait for the outcome of the draw in April before they can plot their next move and request the PBA for the availability of the players.

“It doesn’t matter how well we play, a big factor is who will you play. I know it’s also going to be very important. Hopefully, we get a little bit of a break and get teams that we have a chance to beat in the group stages,” Reyes said.

“Right now, for the World Cup, we don’t know yet until we know the draw. We have to wait for the draw. It’s difficult to prepare blindly. We have to know who we’re going to prepare to know how we’re going to prepare, the kind of competition we’re going to go — on training camp and play tune up games.”

“But we have to know who we’re going to play and that’s going to be determined by who’s going to be in the bracket.”

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