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Chot sees ‘tougher’ Gilas after China tourney

With just 12 days left before the 2023 FIBA World Cup tipoff against the Dominican Republic, the one aspect Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes liked the fact that the national team has demonstrated a lot of toughness in its recent China pocket tournament.

Sure, it's been several days since the Philippine team came back to Manila to resume its final build up, this time with Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson, but Reyes pointed to this one key aspect as a “plus” for Gilas as of late.

Gilas Pilipinas FIBA PHOTO

“I think the most important part I felt was we showed a lot of toughness (in China),” Reyes said during his recent interview with One Sports' The Game.

Though Gilas for overpowered by Senegal during their first encounter in the Heyuan WUS International basketball tournament, the Filipinos got back at their tormentors during their rematch a few days after, riding on a hot, fourth-quarter shooting to dump the West African squad, 75-63.

The Philippines also scored back-to-back wins against Iran Team B, a squad that refused to back down after engaging Gilas in a neck-and-neck battle in Guangdong, China.

More importantly, Reyes said he's happy to see Roger Pogoy, Calvin Oftana and Bobby Ray Parks get re-integrated to the team after missing the Europe training camp several weeks back.

“We were able to work on integrating others guys, who were not with us in Europe, like Roger Pogoy, Calvin Oftana and Ray Parks,” Reyes said.

The three members of the pool missed the training camp after nursing separate injuries at that time.

“I think that was very important and finally, getting actual court time for AJ Edu.”

Edu, the 6-foot-10 Fil-Cypriot, joined the team in Europe, but failed to see action due to an ankle injury.

But the former University of Toledo big man came out and played impressively for Gilas in China, showing his three-point range and providing a dependable inside presence and rebounding.

Reyes said overall, Senegal's ability to simulate the way Angola plays is critical to Gilas' FIBA World Cup preparation.

He also noted that Iran has veered away from the “dump-the-ball-inside” type of plays, a practice it had for more than a decade when the West Asian powerhouse still had 7-foot-2 Iranian legend Hamed Haddadi patrolling the shaded lane.

“Iran now plays Euro type of basketball. They're not the Iran of the past that's just dumping the ball inside, but they all have bigs who have outside shooting,” noted the 60-year-old Gilas mentor.

Gilas' final run up the World Cup include closed-door scrimmage matches against Cote d'Ivore on Aug. 16, followed by Montenegro (Aug. 21) and finally, Mexico (Aug. 22).

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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