Ex-Gilas guard Tenorio defends team amid subpar bid in FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers

MANILA, Philippines — Former Gilas Pilipinas member LA Tenorio jumped to the defense of the national team following a mediocre 1-1 result in the recently concluded February window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers last week.

Speaking on One Sports' The Game, Tenorio noted that this group of Philippine cagers, bannered by Thirdy Ravena and Dwight Ramos and coached by Chot Reyes, struggled mostly due to their lack of preparation time.

The team had only weeks to prepare for the pocket tournament, owing to personnel changes, schedule conflicts, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We saw how they really struggled during these two games. Actually, even against India, medyo nagstruggle din sila as a team nung una," Tenorio said.

"Kasi nga, the most important thing in international competition, and this is based on my experience, is really the preparation," he added.

For the four-time PBA champion, Gilas splitting its games against India and New Zealand was not an accurate measurement of the national team program.

This because there were a lot of circumstances that hindered the Filipino cagers to prepare well and have ample time to gel as a team.

"It's unfair dun sa team ngayon na naglaro na igrade natin kung paano sila nagperform for this window. It's really the preparation eh," he said.

Tenorio also cited the fact that the Indians and the Kiwis were well-prepared themselves.

A somewhat hastily assembled roster following the departure of former Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin paled in comparison to players who were part of a long-haul program in their respective countries.

"Etong nakalaban nila na dalawang teams, for sure, months or probably years na silang magkakasama and preparing for every window," Tenorio said.

Nevertheless, the 1-1 result does not hurt Gilas' chances in the World Cup as they are already qualified owing to the Philippines co-hosting the event with Japan and Indonesia.

For now, Gilas is expected to look on to the 31st Southeast Asian Games unfurling in May, where they will look to defend their title.

As early as now, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and the PBA have already agreed on assembling a 30-man pool laced with pros to play in the Hanoi SEA Games.

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Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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