Two national teams from the Middle East – Jordan and Qatar – have opted to have their respective final phase of training camps here by playing friendly games against various PBA teams.
So far, the both Jordan and Qatar have played two games each with the Qataris settling with a draw against Globalport (69-all) last Saturday and the Jordanians defeating Blackwater last Wednesday (76-73) losing to Barangay Ginebra yesterday (85-94).
In contrast, Gilas Pilipinas has chosen Cebu as destination for its training camp as head coach Tab Baldwin continues to refine and introduce new tactics for the national team in time for the FIBA Asia Championship slated to begin on Wednesday in Changsha, China.
“Two a day practices in Manila means sitting inside the car maybe four hours,” Baldwin told Cebu-based reporters in a press briefing last Tuesday. “Cebu takes that problem away from us.”
The national team will return today, and will leave for China on Monday.
This version of Gilas 3.0 is bracketed in Group B of the FIBA Asia with Kuwait, Palestine and Hong Kong, and is expected to battle defending champion Iran, Japan and India in the second round.
Qatar already left for China last Monday, but Jordan, now under Serbian mentor Rajko Toroman – the same person who called the shots with the original Smart Gilas from 2009 until 2011 – will still play a pair of games here.
Jordan takes on Gloabalport today and tomorrow will tackle Barako Bull, where Toroman served as consultant in the PBA early last year.
He took over the coaching chores of Jordan in the middle of 2014.
Now, he is hoping to lead the team to the quarterfinals of the FIBA Asia Championship.