MANILA, Philippines – Gilas’ naturalized player Andray Blatche said yesterday he can’t wait to start working out with coach Tab Baldwin and the national team to prepare for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on July 5-10 and confirmed his arrival in Manila on May 27.
“I’m committed to the Philippines, the Filipino people, the fans and the Gilas program,” said Blatche in an overseas phone interview from his home in Atlanta. “I wanted us to make the second round at the FIBA World Cup in Spain but it didn’t happen. I wanted us to beat China in the FIBA Asia final but it didn’t happen. I just want us to make it happen this time in Manila. Experts can say what they want about our chances. All I know is the experts predicted we would lose every game in the World Cup by 30 and we surprised everyone. We were one or two players short of making it to the second round. We were close to beating some of the top countries in the world. If we show up with the right mindset and focus, we can pull it off. This is our year to do it. Canada’s talented but they’re a young team. Some NBA guys like Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert won’t play for France. I just got a feeling we can win this thing.”
Blatche said after playing out the season in China last February, he chilled for a month then went back to work. “I had no injuries from China but I wanted to rest my body before hitting the gym, shooting and mountain climbing every other morning for about 10 miles up and down,” he said. “I did swimming, things to keep my body in shape. I didn’t want to go hard as I couldn’t risk anything flukey to happen before I get to Manila. I played some pick-up games but not the kind of 5-on-5 competition that will get me ready for the qualifier. As soon as I get to Manila, that’s when I’ll do all my running and hard work.”
MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin, in their first few days of training for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, is throwing caution to the winds, saying the Nationals must be in their best competitive form to defy tremendous odds and sneak into the Rio Olympics in August.
But Baldwin is neither discounting their chance to pull the rug from under the heavyweights in the FIBA OQT which the country hosts at the MOA Arena from July 5-10.
Baldwin, however, stressed they have a job cut out for them starting from training.
Nash Racela is leaving the Philippines for Thailand tomorrow on a good note. His FEU Tamaraws took down the highly-rated Perpetual Help Altas, Friday evening, 62-57, in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup. Almost immediately, his attention turn to the new task at hand… defending the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Stankovic Cup in Bangkok.
The Stankovic Cup will be held from May 22-28 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Racela, who is flying out of Manila tomorrow for Thailand to coach the Philippine team, pointed out to the host country’s team as their major threat.
PAUL Lee, the superstar Rain or Shine point guard who has a solid shot at securing a slot in the Gilas Pilipinas team, has a knee condition that could keep him out of the national roster that will shoot for an Olympic berth in a qualifying tournament next month.
Lee’s PBA coach, Yeng Guiao, confirmed this to the Inquirer yesterday as he gave Lee the sole decision on whether to suit up for the July 5 to 11 tournament given the current state of his knee.
“We (Rain or Shine management) told Paul to talk to his doctors and later on decide on what he wants to do,” Guiao said over the phone as Lee, together with teammates Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood and Alaska’s Calvin Abueva are expected at Gilas camp no later than Tuesday.
MANILA, Philippines - SBP deputy executive director for international affairs Butch Antonio is looking forward to the future when the Gilas Cadets will form the nucleus of the senior national team to represent the country at the 2019 FIBA World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Antonio heads the Cadets delegation that left Manila for Bangkok on a Thai Airways flight yesterday afternoon to compete at the SEABA (Southeast Asian Basketball Association) Stankovic Cup on May 22-27. Two in the 12-man cast are PBA players, Troy Rosario of Tropang TNT and Almond Vosotros of Blackwater and five were recently named to the 24-man Gilas pool for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament here in July– Rosario, Kevin Ferrer, Roger Pogoy, Mac Belo and Russell Escoto.
The Cadets lineup is composed of 6-7 Rosario, 24; 5-10 Vosotros, 26; 6-4 Ferrer, 23; 6-2 Pogoy, 23; 6-3 Belo, 23; 6-6 Escoto, 23; 6-4 Raymar Jose, 23; 5-11Mike Tolomia, 23; 6-9 Ken Holmqvist, 22; 5-9 Jiovani Jalalon, 23; 6-4 Jonas Tibayan, 17 and 6-2 Von Pessumal, 23. The tallest is Holmqvist, a Davao-born Fil-Norwegian.
June Mar Fajardo and the Gilas Pilipinas are out to do the near impossible—qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
For perspective, the 28th-ranked Philippines is grouped with 5th-ranked France and 21st-ranked New Zealand in Group A of the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila.
Turkey, the 8th-ranked nation in the world, headlines the other group that includes 26th-ranked Canada and 31st-ranked Senegal, the only nation the Filipinos beat in the 2014 Fiba World Cup.
GILAS Pilipinas will train in the country only until June 10 before embarking in a European sojourn for training camp that will be capped by its stint in a pocket tournament in Italy.
Up for the Nationals in that schedule will be an arduous camp in Greece at a facility called Kapernici before Gilas flies to Turkey to play its national team there.
That game with the Turks will be the first of two as the Filipinos will host them here on July 1, the final tuneup for Gilas before plunging into Olympic Qualifying Tournament action on July 5 against France at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.