Preparation is the key to any tournament. The longer the preparation, the better.
This is what former national team mentor Yeng Guiao likes about the idea of tapping 23 players to the training pool for the FIBA World Cup which the country will co-host with Japan and Indonesia in 2023.
“What’s good is we’re starting early,” said Guiao, who called the shots for the national team that placed eighth in the 2009 FIBA Asia Championship in Tianjin, China.
“Ang tingin ko, importante na maaga pa lang may foresight na tayo, may plano na tayo. So when the time comes, we are well prepared (for the competition),” added Guiao, now the coach of the NLEX Road Warriors.
All two dozen players Gilas mentor Chot Reyes had listed come from the amateur ranks, including 7-foot high school standout Kai Sotto of the Ateneo Eaglets, NCAA MVP CJ Perez, Thirdy Ravena of UAAP champion Ateneo, Robert Bolick of reigning NCAA titlist San Beda and Kobe Paras of Cal State Northridge.
Reyes clarified this list is different from the one that is training for next year’s World Cup in China.
Last Monday at the Meralco gym, majority of those in the 2023 pool showed up in practice which coincided with the resumption of Gilas PH training for, among them, Jayson Castro, Japeth Aguilar and Kiefer Ravena for the second window of the Asian qualifiers next month.
Gilas takes on Australia in Adelaide on Feb. 22 and plays Japan on Feb. 25 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Both the Filipinos and the Australians carry 2-0 cards, while Japan and Taiwan sport 0-2 records in Group B of the Asian qualifiers.
Although Ravena is already part of the current Gilas squad that will see action in the ongoing qualifier for the China meet, Guiao believes that his 25-year-old rookie will be a key part of the 2023 team.