Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin opened the first day of practice of the national team on Monday night at the Meralco gym in Ortigas in order to have an early preparation for the World Olympic Wildcard Qualifiers next year on July 4 to 10.
Baldwin, who coached Gilas Pilipinas 3.0 that finished first runner-up in the 28th FIBA Asia Championship Olympic qualifying tournament recently in Changsha, China, just instructed his players to hold shooting drills, defensive drills and other light drills during the first day.
“I will meet the players and discuss them what is the next year’s tournament is all about. We are going to hold some drills. I’m excited about our first practice which will be held every Monday until next year,” Baldwin told The Manila Times on Monday in a phone interview prior to their first practice.
Asked about if Gilas Pilipinas would have his own strength and conditioning sessions, Baldwin said: “All the players invited are in better conditions because they are conditioned very well by their respective PBA teams. I’m looking forward to see all the players.”
Talk ‘N Text combo guard and long time Gilas player Jayson Castro confirmed his attendance to the first practice session together with San Miguel Beer’s 6’10 behemoth June Mar Fajardo, Star Hotshots’ Jean Marc Pingris and Ian Sanggalang, among others.
The other members of the 17-man pool are Marcio Lassiter of San Miguel Beer; Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel; Paul Lee, Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine; Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Troy Rosario, Ranidel De Ocampo and Ryan Reyes of Talk ‘N Text; Calvin Abueva of Alaska and Terrence Romeo of GlobalPort.
De Ocampo is presently nursing with a back injury after suffering an accident during the weight training session recently.