Gilas Pilipinas Men’s team is scheduled to face only Thailand in the November window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
The squad, which is made up of young collegiate players, will meet the Thais twice. They will first meet on Nov. 27 at the Khalifa Sports City in Manama, Bahrain.
Their next meeting is set on Nov. 30.
The competitions were supposed to be of a home-and-away format, but this was called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thailand will face Indonesia before that on Nov. 28, a day after the first Gilas Men-Thailand match.
Scheduled clashes against Indonesia and Korea have not been confirmed, so far.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman emeritus Manny Pangilinan said the matches were not supposed to continue because of health and safety concerns brought about by the pandemic.
But the games still pushed through, considering that there was no significant basketball event that has been happening.
“This window is supposed to be postponed until February. But, I guess FIBA felt that it should continue,” said Pangilinan following a recent FIBA Central Board meeting.
Members of the Gilas Pilipinas national men’s team left for Manama last Sunday, and they made sure that they have good chemistry coming into the games.
The national pool continued working out inside a training bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna two weeks ago. Their number will be trimmed down to 12 before the encounter with the Thais.
“All these are the challenging dynamics in putting this team together, prioritizing chemistry over the tactical complexity of trying to develop a team with a unique approach to the game,” remarked Baldwin, who spoke for head coach Jong Uichico.
The team did not have enough time to practice new defensive and offensive techniques on the floor after the players were assembled on short notice.
The national squad is led by Kobe Paras, Justine Baltazar and Juan Gomez de Liano.
The pool is also made up of Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, twins Matt and Mike Nieto, Ateneo’s Dwight Ramos, Will Navarro and Dave Ildefonso, San Beda’s Calvin Oftana and Kemark Carino. University of the Philippines’ Javi Gomez de Liano have also made the cut.
Also listed are Jaydee Tungcab and naturalization prospect Angelo Kouame.
The coaching staff also include Boyet Fernandez, Alton Lister, Sandro Soriano and Andrei Tolentino.