By WAYLON GALVEZ
Gilas Pilipinas mentor Tab Baldwin is expected to come up with a 14-man roster later this week that will go to training camp in Greece and compete in a series of matches in Europe in time for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) next month.
Veteran guard LA Tenorio said yesterday that the 14 players Baldwin will bring to training camp would be bared after Gilas meets Iran in a pair of tuneup games this week.
“We’ll find out kung sino yung aalis na 14 (going to Greece),” said Tenorio yesterday following the national team’s training session at the Meralco gym in Quezon City.
Members of the national training pool all got their respective visas from the Greece embassy recently, but according to Tenorio, not all will travel with Gilas on June 10 for the 10-day training camp in what Baldwin called “the mountains” in the town of Karpenissi.
“Just in case lang, kumuha lahat ng short visa lang naman. I don’t know (who’s going)… hindi ko pa alam. Baka kayo ang unang makaalam pa nun. Alam ko yun ang plano,” said Tenorio.
“Sana (makasama). Ever since naman stability lang ang dala ko sa national team, from Jimmy (Alapag) to Jayson (Castro). Hindi naman tayo totally i-iskor diyan; yung experience lang,” added the 5-7 guard, who played for Gilas in 2013 FIBA Asia Championship here and the 2014 World Cup in Spain.
Aside from Tenorio, others in the training pool are naturalized player Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Mo Tautuaa, Marc Pingris, Ranidel de Ocampo, Jeff Chan, Marcio Lassiter, Gabe Norwood, Calvin Abueva, Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo, Ryan Reyes and Troy Rosario, as well as Cadets Ray Parks and Kiefer Ravena.
The national team will twice face former Asian champion Iran, first in a closed-door match tomorrow, and in an exhibition match that is open to the public on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Iran, which arrived yesterday, will play without veterans Hamed Haddadi, Samad Nikkhah Bahrami and Mehdi Kamrani.
The matches against Iran comes less than a month before the OQT which is scheduled July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena, with the winner earning a spot in the 2016 Rio Olympics this August in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“Kung titignan mo medyo mabilis talaga yung araw. Hindi natin namalayan, isang buwan na lang pala laro na. Pagkakasyahin na lang namin yung isang buwan na maging quality lahat ng gagawin naming; sana masulit namin mga yun,” said De Ocampo, the only player who played for Gilas 1 to 3.
“Para sa akin kailangan namin yung mga training na to na hindi namin nagawa sa Gilas 3. Last time kasi yung Turkey namin hindi natuloy, so eto kahit papaano maski masikip sa schedule, nagawan pa rin ng paraan maisingit.” added De Ocampo.