Gilas Pilipinas has already arrived in Lithuania for the second phase of its European tour, where it intends to focus on the shortcomings identified during its two tune-up games in the pocket tournament in Estonia.
The team was already in Kaunas, Lithuania, where Gilas will play at least four additional friendlies, including matches against the country’s under-22 national team, prominent football clubs, and maybe fellow World Cup-bound team Latvia.
“We have four more in Lithuania. At least four more. Four games in 10 days. Again, those are going to be good tests for us,” said Reyes.
Reyes also stated that the squad will continue to train twice a day because the team now prioritizes bringing the players back to peak shape while also establishing the principles of their defense, which was a major issue in Gilas’ tight losses to Estonia and Finland.
Gilas was still missing big man AJ Edu due to an ankle injury, and Scottie Thompson missed the opening game against the hosts due to a back spasm. Even Justin Brownlee suffered cramping and was unable to finish the game against Estonia.
“Right now, we are just continuing, little by little, to get up our conditioning level. No. 2, all we are doing now defensively is all the fundamentals, technique, mechanics, making sure everyone is on the same page, understanding our terminologies and what we want to do,” Reyes explained.
“From there, we can build on it. We can run some schemes. We can run different looks. Right now it’s all about putting in the fundamentals and the mechanics in getting on the same page first, and then putting in the foundation, and then slowly getting back into game shape,” he added.
Reyes, who was pleased with the team’s performance despite the tough losses in Estonia, knew that achieving these goals would take time, and that playing these games, regardless of the outcome, will be critical for the team as it ramps up its preparation for the 2023 FIBA World Cup group stage games.