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Intense training awaits Phl cagers in Lithuania

‘We have four more in Lithuania. At least four more.’

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF SBP JUNE Mar Fajardo and Gilas Pilipinas prepare for an intense training in Lithuania.

After a pair of testy friendly matches against crack European teams, Gilas Pilipinas will move its training to Lithuania to intensify its buildup for the FIBA Basketball World Cup from 25 August to 10 September in Manila.

The Filipinos made repeated rally but fell short en route to an 85-89 loss to Finland on Wednesday to wrap up their training camp in Tallinn, Estonia.

Gilas trailed for most part of the match until Dwight Ramos, Rhenz Abando and Scottie Thompson scored 10 unanswered points to knot the count at 31 in the first half.

Ramos led the way with 15 points while Justin Brownlee, who battled cramps in their 71-81 loss to Estonia, finished with 11 markers.

June Mar Fajardo, for his part, contributed 10 points, the same output produced by Thompson who dropped a booming three-pointer that kept the Filipinos back in the thick of the fight in the closing seconds of the match.

Gilas coach Chot Reyes was satisfied with the outcome, saying that their performance was way better than when they battled the Estonians on Tuesday.

“We came out with definite metrics. Number one was to cut down our turnovers. We had 23 yesterday (against Estonia) and today we were able to cut it down by eight so we finished with 15 assists on 15 turnovers so at least we were at least up our assist to turnover ratio to one is to one as against yesterday that is negative. That’s a good sign that we played better than yesterday,” Reyes said.

“I was very happy with our effort, very happy with the game.”

Reyes said they are now set to take an eight-hour road trip for another camp in Kaunas, Lithuania in the next 10 days.

There, they are set to play four friendly matches while holding twice-a-day practices.

“We have four more in Lithuania. At least four more,” Reyes said in an interview without revealing the names of their opponents.

“Right now, we are just continuing, little by little, get up our conditioning level. No. 2, all we are doing defensively is all the fundamentals, technique, mechanics, making sure everyone is on the same page, understanding our terminologies and what we want to do.”

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