National head coach Tab Baldwin of Gilas Pilipinas national team is eyeing a strong finish in the Estonia pocket tournament slated on August 20 to 22.
The tournament serves as Gilas Pilipinas’ tuneup for the FIBA Asia Championship Olympic qualifying meet.
“The kind of basketball that we are going to encounter is a European type of basketball which is very discipline and structure, very intelligent and I think they are all tall as far as I know,” Baldwin told The Manila Times in a phone interview.
“We’re hoping for a strong finish in that tournament because it will measure the team’s capability. I’m hoping that we’re going to learn a lot from that tournament. We just have to give our best against Iceland, Estonia and Netherlands. They will field in national players for sure. But as what I told you before, all the players who joined us in practice are really progressing including Andray (Blatche) that’s why I’m expecting the players to give their best,” he said.
Gilas, said Baldwin, will return to Manila on August 24.
Gilas first timers are Terrence Romeo of GlobalPort, Troy Rosario of National University, Moala Tautuaa, JC Intal of Barako Bull, Calvin Abueva and Sonny Thoss of Alaska and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser of Talk ‘N Text.
They will be joining Gilas veterans naturalized player Andray Blatche, Asi Taulava and Aldrech Ramos of Northern Luzon Expressway, Jayson Castro and Ranidel De Ocampo of Talk ‘N Text, Gary David of Meralco and Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine.
They left the country Monday night for Estonia along with Baldwin, assistant coaches Alex Compton, Jong Uichico and Josh Reyes.
The veteran national player David, meanwhile, believes Gilas would gain familiarity and develop effective chemistry, when they play in Estonia that features national teams from Iceland, host Estonia and Netherlands starting Thursday.