Gilas to train in Europe; Abueva is PBA top cager
THE building blocks of Smart Gilas’ campaign in the upcoming 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament are all set.
National team coach Tab Baldwin on Friday revealed the training agenda of Smart Gilas Pilipinas leading up to the tournament which the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will host.
Europe will be the primary training ground of the national pool as Gilas Pilipinas will have some of its training sessions in Greece.
Two pocket tournaments in Bologna and Italy are also lined up as the team is looking for as many tune-up games as possible to be fully prepared for the July 5 to 10 tournament.
The team faces several national teams preparing for either the FIBA Qualifiers or the Rio Olympics.
Gilas has already submitted an initial 24-man national pool, which includes PBA stars Calvin Abueva, Jayson Castro, Jeff Chan, June Mar Fajardo, Ranidel De Ocampo, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, Marcio Lassiter, Terrence Romeo, Mark Pingris, Ryan Reyes, Greg Slaughter, Troy Rosario, Moala Tautuaa and LA Tenorio.
The other members that are non-PBA cagers are naturalized import Andray Blatche, along with amateur standouts led by Bobby Ray Parks, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Ferrer, Mac Belo, Roger Pogoy and Russell Escoto.
Blatche is set to arrive anytime this week to start participating in the team’s preparations for the July qualifier.
Meanwhile, Alaska star Calvin Abueva was named as the Best Player of the Conference while Meralco’s Arinze Onuaku was cited as the Best Import of the Conference in the 2016 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.
The two were awarded prior to the start of Game 4 of the finals between Rain or Shine and Alaska.
Abueva was finally able to get his first-ever Best Player recognition after his consistent play throughout the tournament helped the Aces reach the finals for the third straight conference, while Onuaku spearheaded the Bolts’ huge turnaround this conference as they made the semifinals following a dismal showing in the Philippine Cup where they ended up last.
The Aces’ enigmatic force bested perennial BPC contenders San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo and Ginebra’s Greg Slaughter for the individual plum, while Onuaku topped San Miguel’s Tyler Wilkerson, Rain or Shine’s Pierre henderson-Niles and Alaska’s Rob Dozier for his reinforcement award.
As of this report, Rain or Shine is doing its best to end its four-year title drought and win the Commissioner’s Cup championship via sweep in its first chance as it is battling Alaska in Game 4 of the best-of-seven finals.