As the FIBA World Cup draws near, Gilas Pilipinas, the Philippine national basketball team, is leaving no stone unturned in its preparations. Head coach Chot Reyes recently shared insights into the team’s strategy, revealing that the upcoming tune-up games held in the Philippines will play a pivotal role in shaping the final roster for the prestigious international tournament.
Reyes, in an interview with One Sports’ The Game, expressed the significance of these tune-up games, which are set to take place a few days before the FIBA World Cup commences on August 25. He highlighted how these games will determine the ultimate composition of the “Final 12” players who will represent the Philippines on the global stage.
“The way we structured the tune-up games is a replica of the teams we are going to play. So, we are going to play a European team, an African team and a Latin American team. Those are the teams that we are going to play in the actual World Cup,” Reyes explained. “So, we made sure that we mimic the kind of competition and in fact even the schedule, we tried to get it as close as possible to what we are going to face in the World Cup.”
With Gilas Pilipinas set to compete against the Dominican Republic, Angola, and Italy in Group A of the FIBA World Cup, the team’s approach to these tune-up games mirrors the actual tournament structure. Reyes emphasized the importance of replicating real game scenarios to fine-tune the squad’s performance and adaptability.
Chot Reyes also stressed the role of these games in integrating naturalized player Jordan Clarkson into the team’s system. Clarkson, who recently joined the team’s training, brings a unique skill set that needs to be harmoniously incorporated into the team’s strategies.
“The familiarization and the little nuances… It is easy to learn an offense, it’s easy to pick up steps and all that, but the little nuances of the counters, the tweaks, the reads which you can only get in game time situations, that’s really my more important concern right now,” Reyes noted. “It’s important that we have three more friendlies, three more tune-up games coming up so that we are able to work on those little things that are very important in execution with [Clarkson].”
As Gilas Pilipinas continues its rigorous training regime, Reyes has made it clear that the current group of 15 players constitutes the team’s core. He affirmed, “As far as I’m concerned this is the team. This is our team. We’re 15-strong.” This unity and determination within the squad will be a driving force as they aim to make a significant impact at the FIBA World Cup.
The team will also be closely monitoring the health status of Scottie Thompson, who sustained a hand injury during the Nationals’ Europe camp. Thompson’s situation adds an element of uncertainty to the final roster, but his commitment to training demonstrates his dedication to the team’s cause.
With tune-up games against fellow World Cup contenders Montenegro and Mexico scheduled in the lead-up to the FIBA World Cup, the intensity of the preparations is set to peak. The announcement of the Final 12 players will take place after a team managers’ technical meeting on August 23-24, just before the tournament kicks off.
Gilas Pilipinas fans can look forward to witnessing the outcome of these intense preparations as the team endeavors to make the Philippines proud on the global basketball stage. With Coach Chot Reyes at the helm, and with players like Jordan Clarkson and a strong core of talent, expectations are high for a competitive showing at the FIBA World Cup.