Baldwin building a quality team for Olympic qualifiers

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Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin wants to form a high quality national men’s basketball team for the upcoming 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament scheduled on July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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Baldwin said he is not focusing on how to develop great talented individuals, saying he is there to build a team that can compete against highly-talented basketball nations France, Canada, Turkey, Senegal and New Zealand.

“Talent is not a deciding factor in this tournament,” Baldwin told reporters after the team’s practice. “It is the quality of the team, and France has a highly talented and quality team. They’re not the only team in this tournament and we need to win four, so it will be tough.”

“I will try to build the most talented team that we can and not the group of most talented individuals,” added Baldwin. “We’re right now looking so far to the chemistry that we can develop and how these players showing up and shaping up.”

Baldwin also announced that New Zealand has already reveal its roster composed of young not so tall talented bench players and has a solid eight international players, while they are still waiting for France to come out with their line-up.

“The decision of those teams may impact to the team that we want to develop and form.”

He also said that they won’t add new players on the team since the cadet players from the amateur ranks are enough to fulfill the number of practicing players. “We are not going to add players and I think we got the players we have to help us out,” he said. “I’m pleased with our numbers.”

Baldwin also said the team will go to Europe from June 10 to 26 to attend a training camp in Greece and play friendly games in Istanbul, Turkey and Bologna, Italy before returning in Manila.

“We will only take 14 players in the Euro training. We will choose the players before we leave on June 10,” he added. “I’m not sure when to submit the final line up yet.”

Gilas national pool is composed so far of 6’10 June Mar Fajardo, Jean Marc Pingris, LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Dondon Hontiveros, Jeth Troy Rosario, Ranidel De Ocampo, Bobby Ray Parks Jr., Terrence Romeo and Jayson Castro, among others.

The Philippine team will hold a series of practice at the Meralco gym.

Naturalized Filipino center Andray Blatche is also set to arrive this week.

JOSEF T. RAMOS

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