Gilas Pilipinas is now at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna for a week-long, closed-door training camp as the squad enters the final stage of preparations before departing for Phnom Penh, Cambodia for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball tournament set on May 9 to 16.
“We’re going to do a lot of cramming, for lack of a better word,” said head coach Chot Reyes.
“We want to have everyone there. Not just for the basketball practices, but for the team’s development,” he added.
The series of setbacks in player availability, most notably June Mar Fajardo, Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar along with Fil-Ams Jamie Malonzo and Mikey Williams had served as distractions for the squad that is aiming to reclaim the gold it relinquished to Indonesia during the previous staging of the regional biennial meet in Vietnam.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) deputy executive director and Gilas team manager Butch Antonio bared that the out-of-town camp will allow the pool members to focus and adapt to the system of Reyes.
“Of course, it’s (training camp) all about the preparation to make up and expedite the learning and the technical stuff that coaches will implement so that players won’t have any distraction,” said Antonio.
Aside from Reyes, other members of the coaching staff present in the camp are Tim Cone, Jong Uichico and Reyes’ son Josh.
Players taking part in the intense, 4-day training session are Justin Brownlee, Christian Standhardinger, Jeremiah Gray, CJ Perez, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, Arvin Tolentino, Calvin Oftana, Chris Newsome, Aaron Black, Mason Amos, Jerom Lastimosa, and brothers Michael and Ben Phillips.
“These guys are going to be playing for the first time so we’re gonna have to do a lot of team development activities to build cohesion and synergy required to win in the Southeast Asian Games,” said Reyes.
“If they’re not here, they’ll not make the final (roster),” he added.