Gilas Pilipinas returned to Manila Tuesday night after their intensive training camp and tune-up matches abroad, which served as their preparation for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament next week.
Gilas coach Tab Baldwin said the team, which arrived at the NAIA Terminal 1 at around 7 p.m., learned valuable lessons from their scrimmages abroad.
“That [loss against Turkey] was a letdown for all of us, but I think we responded pretty well,” said the coach.
MANILA, Philippines – Ramon Fernandez, regarded as the best all-around player ever to grace Philippine basketball, said the final composition of the Gilas Pilipinas team to the forthcoming FIBA Olympic qualifier is a decision hatched on what is needed by the team.
It’s about what the head coach feels is right.
“You have to give it to the coach. He has the game plan. That’s what he feels are the 12 players he will really use for the campaign,” said the 62-year-old Fernandez.
Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin said he understands the outrage of local basketball fans about the national team’s final line-up, particularly the non-inclusion of fan favorite Calvin Abueva.
Baldwin arrived in Manila on Tuesday night together with the national team, two days after he announced the final 12 players who will represent the Philippines in the coming FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
The players who didn’t make it to the list were LA Tenorio and Abueva. But it was Abueva’s exclusion that caused the fans’ uproar.
Tristan Thompson, a key contributor in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ stunning NBA championship victory over the Golden State Warriors, will play for Canada in the Manila leg of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament set next week at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Cleveland.com, citing NBA sources, reported yesterday about Thompson’s intention to play for the Canadians despite possible fatigue that came after helping the Cavaliers erase a 3-1 deficit over the Warriors in the NBA Finals.
The 6-foot-9 Thompson, whose rebounding skills and defensive effort in the paint was evident during the finals, will be one of the notable NBA players that will suit up in the Manila OQT.
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will attend the games of Gilas Pilipinas to boost the country’s campaign in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament which starts on July 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Incoming Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez confirmed Duterte’s appearance in yesterday’s PSA Forum, although he could not say for sure if the country’s next chief executive will watch both Gilas matches.
“Yes, the President will watch the game, that’s what I was told,” said Ramirez. “I think they’re still finalizing the schedule,” he added.
It may be a painful pill to swallow, but Calvin Abueva knows he did all he could for the national team.
Along with LA Tenorio, the energetic Kapampangan forward were the last two cuts from Gilas Pilipinas as head coach Tab Baldwin finalized his 12-man roster last Sunday.
In a report from Sports5, Abueva detailed the pains he felt as the news broke in Bologna, Italy.
MANILA -- Several basketball fans were outraged that Calvin Abueva wasn't included in the final roster of Gilas Pilipinas for the coming FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
Even Abueva's PBA club, the Alaska Aces, believed “The Beast” was a shoo-in for the Final 12.
“We had no details on why Calvin was cut but yeah, it surprised us,” Alaska team governor Dickie Bachman told FOX Sports.