Gilas Pilipinas will be leaving today for Changsha, China to compete in the 28th FIBA Asia Championship Olympic Qualifying tournament scheduled on September 23 to October 3.
The Philippines is in Group B together with Palestine, Hong Kong and Kuwait—teams that are out of the FIBA Asia’s Power Ranking Top 10.
But head coach Tab Baldwin assured that his players would not take their assignments lightly.
“We are not thinking that way. We knew these teams are capable of winning because they qualified in their respective zones,” Baldwin told The Manila Times in a phone interview on Sunday. “We are not going to relax because we want to control those games reasonably well.”
Baldwin also said that he is satisfied during the final phase of their training in Cebu City.
“That Cebu training is a big help. The players were able to concentrate on our new system and set of plays,” said Baldwin, noting that naturalized player 6’10 center-forward Andray Blatche is getting better.
“Blatche is getting in good playing shape,” he said.
Gilas Pilipinas will play against Palestine on Wednesday, Hong Kong on Thursday and Kuwait on Friday.
Group A is composed of Iran, Japan, Malaysia and India while South Korea, China, Jordan and Singapore are in Group C, and Taiwan, Lebanon, Qatar and Kazakhstan are in Group D.
Joining Blatche and Baldwin in the team are Terrence Romeo, Gabe Norwood, Sonny Thoss, Calvin Abueva, Dondon Hontiveros, Paul Asi Taulava, JC Intal, Ranidel De Ocampo, Jayson Castro, Jean Marc Pingris and Matt Rosser-Ganuelas.