For the last two years, newly named Gilas Pilipinas national men’s basketball coach Tab Baldwin preached the need for the squad to gain experience at the international level.
And this will be what the Baldwin will be seeking for the national squad when he names his final list of 12 players, who will play tomorrow.
“Because one of the most fundamental ingredients to a successful national team is experience at the international level. And this group of players will have almost none of that. So it’s going to be painful before it’s productive, I can tell you that,” said Baldwin, who discussed this need and what he wants a national squad to have a year ago in a podcast.
Much needed experience is something the final 12 cagers will get when the Group A and B matches of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers commence on Wednesday behind closed doors at the Angeles University Foundation gymnasium in Angeles City, Pampanga.
With the newbies of Gilas facing Korea at 6 p.m., Baldwin is keeping his cards to himself for the moment. He will name his final roster a day before the game (Tuesday).
Group B hostilities will be held earlier, with Japan facing China at 2:30 p.m.
“We have 15 players in our roster. Of course, we are going to trim it down to 12, 24 hours before the start of the tournament. And hopefully, the final 12 that we will choose will be able to compete at a high level and give us opportunities to win,” said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Special Assistant to the President in Ryan Gregorio.
Focus will be both the Philippines and Korea as the two remained undefeated in their respective campaigns.
The Philippines has won its last three games by at least 30 points so far, beating Indonesia, 100-70, in February 2020 in Jakarta, before coming off with a 93-61 mauling of Indonesia last November in Bahrain and a 93-69 stopping of Thailand.
Korea has not lost in two games, too, but it had a close fight against Thailand, which the Koreans beat, 93-86.
Gregorio hopes that the Gilas will be able to compete with Korea after spending the last nine weeks training under a bubble in Calamba, Laguna.
Baldwin will be choosing his players from among draftees Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, Isaac Go and Rey Suerte, along with newbies Jordan Heading, William Navarro, Tzaddy Rangel, and Jaydee Tungcab. Also around are Kenmark Carino, Javi Gomez de Liano, Dave Ildefonso, SJ Belangel, RJ Abarrientos, Carl Tamayo, Justine Baltazar, Jason Credo, Geo Chiu and Lebron Lopez.
Decisions will also be made on naturalized player Angelo Kouame and and 7’3” Sotto, who were among 15 Gilas cadets, who entered the Clark bubble at the Quest Hotel on Sunday afternoon.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.