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No rest for Batang Gilas

Members of the Batang Gilas Pilipinas celebrate their latest championship in the SEABA U16 Championship. (Photo from LIza Platon Alas' Facebook)

Fresh from winning the championship in the Southeast Asia Basketball Association Under-16 Championship, members of the Batang Gilas team will buckle down to work starting 31 July.

Head coach Josh Reyes confirmed this to Daily Tribune as the Batang Gilas team will be preparing for the next major international tournament that is the FIBA U-16 Asian Championship which will be held at the Al-Gharafa Sports Club Hall in Doha, Qatar.

“We’re resuming training on 31 July and the venue will be announced soon,” said Reyes, whose team has alternated practices at the Philsports Arena, Meralco Gym and Moro Lorenzo Gym inside Ateneo de Manila University.

Led by second-generation cager Kieffer Alas, CJ Amos, Irus Chua, these young cagers continued the Philippines’ domination in the SEABA U-16 tournament.

Several of them are picked up from top-tier high school squads from here and abroad including the United States and Australia. For the fifth straight time, the Filipinos were able to rule the competition amid short period of time preparing for this event.

The SEABA tournament wasn’t originally included in the calendar, but organizers from Indonesia decided to push for it, hence only four teams participated.

Aside from eventual champion, Philippines, and the host team, other countries which competed were Thailand and Malaysia. The meet used to be a qualifier for the FIBA U16 Asian Championship.

The SEABA tournament helped the Filipinos’ build up for the FIBA Asia event and Reyes doesn’t want the good momentum to be stopped.

Reyes shared some of the biggest takeaways from that successful campaign.

“I like how we were able to move the ball. Majority of our points scored in the tournament were assisted,” said Reyes, son of Gilas Pilipinas head coach, Chot. “Assist numbers were spread out, averaging more than 20 per game as a whole.”

“Rebounding was good, but definitely needs to improve come the Asian Championship. The players played well and they’re focused not chasing the stats (which happened in small stretches of each game, especially at the end of the fourth quarter). I think everyone contributed as expected. The specific roles were understood by every kid.”

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