GILAS Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes said the national basketball team needs the help of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in forming a strong squad for the FIBA Basketball World Cup starting August in Madrid, Spain.
The national team is in Group B, considered as one of the strongest brackets in the tournament since it has teams with high world rankings.
Reyes, who replaced former national Serbian mentor Rajko Toroman as coach in 2012, said Gilas will take on Croatia on August 30, Greece on September 1 and Argentina on September 2.
The Philippines faces Argentina on September 4 and Africa’s bronze medalist Senegal for its last game in the preliminary round on September 5.
“Once again, we are requesting all the teams in the PBA to help us (the Philippine team) to assemble the best team for the FIBA World Cup,” Reyes told GMA7 news. “We need to be in our very best form in that competition.”
In the past, the pro league adjusted its schedule of conferences to allow members of the national squad more time to practice together.
“We will train hard for this tournament and we have to be ready,” said Gilas shooting guard Gary David of Meralco Bolts who also suited up for the Philippine team in the FIBA Asia Championship last August. “We need to play tough offensively and defensively.”
Croatia, ranked No. 16 in the world, was reinforced before by former 6’11 Chicago Bulls forward Toni Kukoc and some tall players who have an average height of 6’6. Greece, on the other hand, is ranked fifth.
Reyes and team manager Aboy Castro are expected to return in Manila from Spain on Friday after attending the FIBA World Cup draw.
Gilas Pilipinas will resume its daily practice after the PBA’s ongoing Philippine Cup.
JOSEF T. RAMOS