The Gilas Pilipinas Men’s team shifts its preparation for the upcoming 2021 FIBA Asia Cup into high gear by taking part in the 2021 King Abdullah Cup scheduled from July 25 to August 3 in Amman, Jordan.
The tournament, which is organized by the Jordan Basketball Federation, will have teams from the host country, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Tunisia.
“Entering the bubble is forced on all of us since we are heading to Jordan on the 23rd. It’s the long-term vision of the program that we have to look at here. We have to take advantage of every minute of games that we can get,” said Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin.
“We’ll be going up against quality teams with different styles compared to the ones we faced in the Asia Cup Qualifiers,” he added.
For his part, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Ryan Gregorio explained that the goal is to get enough foreign exposure in time for the Asia Cup which is slated from August 17 to 29 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“The SBP wanted the team to get more games so we looked for the best possible option and decided that Jordan will be a great destination. Jordan has always been one of the better teams in Asia so going up against them should be beneficial for our young squad,” said Gregorio.
“The pandemic has made it very difficult to plan tune-up games so when the SBP found out about this possibility, we jumped on it as we know every game played will be helpful towards our goal of building a competitive team not just for the FIBA Asia Cup but for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023. We have full confidence that Gilas will take this opportunity to learn and jell as a unit,” he added.
Baldwin will have Jong Uichico, Sandy Arespacochaga, Sandro Soriano, and Dex Aseron as assistants.
The team is composed of Thirdy Ravena, Dwight Ramos, Angelo Kouame, Carl Tamayo, Isaac Go, Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, Rey Suerte, Dave Ildefonso, Geo Chiu, Jordan Heading, Justine Baltazar, RJ Abarrientos, SJ Belangel, and William Navarro.
Gilas will take on Egypt on July 26 (9:00pm, Manila time), followed by Saudi Arabia on July 27 (6:00pm), Jordan-B on July 28 (9:00pm), Tunisia on July 29 (12:00am), and Jordan-A on July 30 (12:00am).