By JONAS TERRADO
Coach Tab Baldwin is hoping to secure an overseas pocket tournament for Gilas Pilipinas before its campaign in the FIBA Asia Cup next month in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Baldwin didn’t say in detail during an interview with the Off The Record podcast as to when and where but having games prior to the continental competition will help for Gilas despite coming off stints in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
“What we need to do is get back into training and games as quickly as we can,” Baldwin said in the podcast. “Gilas is looking for some pocket tournaments, probably overseas before the Asia Cup, but nothing is set in stone yet.”
Gilas is currently under mandatory quarantine after arriving from Belgrade, Serbia where it fell short of advancing to the OQT following losses to the host country and the Dominican Republic.
The Gilas coach and program director earlier said that the team could get back into training, most likely at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna, on July 20 for its Asia Cup preparations.
The FIBA Asia Cup is slated Aug. 14 to 28 at the Istora Arena in the Indonesian capital, which gives Gilas a window to prepare for a maximum of four weeks if the initial timetable can be followed.
“The immediate plans are to hopefully have a week off once we get out of quarantine, and then back into training and bring the players back in that we lost due to injury,” said Baldwin, whose team played without key player Dwight Ramos in the OQT due to a groin injury.
“And then (we have to) reconfigure our team and see what changes we need to make if any and then get ourselves ready for the Asia Cup,” he added.
Gilas earned a place in the Asia Cup after sweeping the final three games of the third window of qualification in Pampanga by virtue of two wins over old rival South Korea and one against Indonesia.