Gilas Cadet head coach Nash Racela hopes that the short preparation would not be a factor for his wards as they open their 2016 SEABA Stankovic Cup campaign against Malaysia today in Thailand.
Unlike in the previous competitions where the Cadets had at least two to three months to prepare, Racela was given a tough task of forming a formidable squad in less time and just three weeks of practices together.
Not only did they have less time to train, they also lost more than half of the team from the 2015 SEA Games side of coach Tab Baldwin with players like Bobby Ray Parks, Kiefer Ravena and Scottie Thompson all notably gone from the squad.
From that side, only five players remained as college stars Mac Belo, Jio Jalalon and Kevin Ferrer will be back for one more tour of duty while Talk ‘N Text’s Troy Rosario and Blackwater’s Almond Vosotros were also given a green light by their mother teams to play for the Cadets.
Racela, however, is confident that the team he formed is more than willing to put everything on the line as the country looks to stamp its basketball dominance in Southeast Asia again.
“I think this is a young team. The very definition that I have for them is their willing to sacrifice for flag and country,” said Racela before catching a flight to Thailand.
“They’ve been informed about the tournament in less than a month and trained right away, they volunteered, practiced almost every day. Even with a three week preparation that we had, andyan sila willing to sacrifice,” Racela added.