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Ramos, Gilas ready for war

Photograph by DIANNE BACELONIA for the daily tribune CHRIS Newsome and Jamie Malonzo are part of the Gilas Pilipinas team that will train in Estonia and Lithuania.

Gilas Pilipinas had the proper mindset when it entered its training camp in Europe in preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup that the country will host from 25 August to 10 September.

Dwight Ramos said they are in high spirits as they finetune their system and play a series of friendly matches against the national teams of Estonia, Finland and Latvia and clubs teams from Lithuania.

In fact, everybody is now on board with naturalized player Justin Bronwlee arriving in Tallinn on Sunday after skipping their training camp at Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna to undergo a non-basketball procedure in the United States.

“I think everybody should be ready,” said Ramos, who was part of the Gilas delegation that safely arrived in the Estonian capital of Tallinn over the weekend.

“We have a lot of time to prepare. We had bubble training at Inspire and then we’re now having our training overseas. It’s meant for us to be ready.”

The training program of Gilas Pilipinas had been sputtering.

Attendance hampered the preparation as majority of the players were either unavailable or injured following their grueling campaigns with their respective professional clubs and the national team in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

The 6-foot-4 Ramos, for one, missed the first stretch of the training at Meralco Gym as he came from a long stint in the Japan B. League.

He, however, was able to catch up when Gilas shifted their training to Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.

Ramos said they will go full blast in their training in a bid to crack the final 12-man roster for the World Cup, where the Philippines is bracketed in Group A with Angola, Dominican Republic and Italy.

After all, nobody is assured of a spot, except for National Basketball Association star Jordan Clarkson, who will serve as naturalized player.

But Ramos stressed that making it to the pool is already a huge blessing.

“I feel blessed and lucky that I was given this once in a lifetime opportunity considering that this is my first time,” Ramos said, adding that he didn’t slow down as he trained in the United States in preparation for the World Cup buildup.

“I had good training in the States. My mentality is to be good and everybody is refocused.”

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