The Gilas Pilipinas Youth team wrapped up its preparations for the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup on a high note by sweeping its exhibition matches against the Al Rayyan basketball team during the national youth team’s training camp in Doha, Qatar.
Gilas took the first game, 79-54, as Kai Sotto flexed his muscle down low on his way to scoring a team-high 19 points. The 7-foot-2 beanpole shot 7 of 10 from the field and swatted away 2 enemy shots. Frontcourt partner AJ Edu, on the other hand, displayed a solid all-around game with 6 points, 7 boards, 5 assists and 3 blocks.
The youth team was back at it again after 2 days, this time blasting their opponents to the tune of 93-64. Edu took the scoring cudgels this time around finishing with 18 points to go along with 9 boards. Fil-Italian Dalph Panopio, who met up with the team in Doha, contributed 14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals while big man Carl Tamayo added 11 markers.
The Under-19 squad is composed mostly of members of the Under-18 team that finished 4th in the FIBA U18 Asian Championships and in the process booked a ticket to the upcoming World Cup.
Other members of the Gilas Youth are Geo Chiu, Xyrus Torres, Gerry Abadiano, Rhayyan Amsali, Miguel Andre Oczon, Sean Dave Ildefonso, Terrence Fortea, and James Spencer.
“They’ve improved their chemistry and teamwork,” said Gilas Youth head coach Sandy Arrespacochaga. “But will this be enough to get us ready to go up against strong teams like Greece, Argentina and Russia?”
“For us the key is to try to improve by as much as we can given the time we have together. So every practice, every video session, every day is key for us,” he added.
The team is bracketed in Group C along with host Greece, Argentina and Russia. First up is the host nation on June 29 followed by Argentina on June 30 and then Russia on July 2.
All 4 teams will move on to the crossover knockout round against Group D which is composed of Serbia, China, Puerto Rico and France.