Gilas Pilipinas team manager Butch Antonio said on Saturday that the national pool would attend training camps in different parts of Europe in June as preparation for the upcoming FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament on July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Antonio said that the selected members of the national pool would leave Manila on June 10. The training camps will be held in Greece from June 11 to 19 and Istanbul, Turkey on June 20. Members of Gilas will also have a friendly game against the Turkish national team on the 21st.
“It is going to be a series of tune up games and training camp to hone the skills of the players – of course to prepare the whole team before the Olympic qualifying,” Antonio said. “I still have no idea, when coach Tab [Baldwin] will select the final 12 maybe on the 27th.”
Antonio added that they would leave Turkey on the June 23 for Bologna, for a friendly on the 25th against the Chinese or the Canadian national team before returning to the Philippines on June 26.
“We are doing well so far and happy with the current pool. But we will only choose 14 players to be brought up in our Euro trip before June 10,” he said. “We will play against Turkey on July 1 when we return here in Manila.”
Antonio said that he is confident that naturalized 6’11 Filipino center Andray Blatche would arrive in Manila this coming week in good playing shape.
“I believe he’s in game shape as far as I understand and that’s what his handlers are saying. There is a trust element here, but let’s see because he’s working out since March and April,” said Antonio. ‘I’m sure he’s in shape.”
Before the Euro trip, Gilas Pilipinas will have two friendly matches against Iran.
“The first game on the seventh will be a close door then the second one on the eight will be open to the public at the Araneta Coliseum,” said Antonio.
Besides Blatche, Gilas Pilipinas may include in the Europe trip Bobby Ray Parks Jr., June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer, Dondon Hontiveros of Alaska, Jean Mark Pingris of Star Hotshots, Jayson Castro of Talk ‘N Text, Terrence Romeo of GlobalPort, Japeth Aguilar of Barangay Ginebra, Paul Lee, Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood of Rain or Shine.