Gilas Gilas Pilipinas players, led by June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer. FIBA photo

Gilas back to work

February 18, 2024 Robert Andaya 173 views

BASKETBALL never stops.

A day after leading San Miguel Beer to an unprecedented 29th PBA championship by winning the Commissioner’s Cup, seven-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and Best Player of the Conference awardee CJ Perez’ are back on the playing court.

After a brief break, Fajardo and Perez are joining fellow Gilas Piilipinas players under national team coach Tim Cone for the final phase of their preparations for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.

The national team is currently stationed at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna to undergo a four-day training camp scheduled to conclude on Sunday.

Following the camp, Gilas Pilipinas will host an open workout at the Philsports Arena in Pasig on Monday, before departing the country the following day for their game against Hong Kong on Feb. 22.

“We want to stay together. We will battle through all the issues that we have,” said Cone in his opening statement posted on PBA website before formal training began.

“We hope to reach our potential, and that means we’re gonna have failures. Not everything’s gonna be smooth. Not everybody’s gonna be happy all the time. You hate it when you lose, you hate it when you’re missing shots, or you blow your defensive assignment.We’re gonna go through it,” added the popular Barangay Ginebra coach.

Aside from Fajardo and Perez, the othetr members of the 12-man Gilas Pilipinas seeing action in the FIBA Asia Qualifiers are Scottie Thompson, Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, Jamie Malonzo, Dwight Ramos, Kai Sotto, AJ Edu, Carl Tamayo, UAAP MVP Kevin Quiambao, and naturalized player Justin Brownlee.

Barangay Ginebra players LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Ralph Cu, and Donald Gumaru have also joined forces to support the national team; s preparation for its inaugural international tournament of the year, following their remarkable gold medal triumph in the 19th Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China.

Adding significance to the start of training camp of Gilas Pilipinas is the presence of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al S. Panlilio, who warmly welcomed the entire delegation.

In the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas finds itself placed in Group B along with New Zealand, Chinese Taipei, and Hong Kong.

The Filipinos will battle Hong Kong this coming Thursday at the Tsuen Wan Sports Centre, then return home to host Chinese Taipei at the Philsports Arena on Feb. 25.

Aside from the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, the Filipinos also preparing for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Riga, Latvia from July 2-7.