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Gilas to maximize opportunities

GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes reminded the pool members of the tough schedule ahead as they leave for a series of games in Europe, before plunging to action in a pocket tournament in China some time in July.

“When we go to Europe, we're going to get a taste of competing against European teams.


Then when we go to the pocket tournament in China, we're going to face Senegal and get a taste of [playing against] the African team,” Reyes said in a recent guest appearance at sports analyst Quinito Henson's sports YouTube channel “PlayitRightTV.”

“We're still trying to get a game against Puerto Rico in China to simulate the game for South American team Dominican Republic,” he added.

The outspoken national coach said given the limited time before Gilas' first FIBA World Cup match scheduled on August 25, it is imperative that they maximize the opportunities given to them.

“We're meticulously planning not only the training schedules but also tuneup game schedules so we can simulate the actual game of our opponents,” explained the 59-year-old Reyes.

Gilas Pilipinas kicks off its FIBA World Cup game against Dominican Republic, ranked 23rd in the world on August 25 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

The national squad's next two games will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, beginning with Angola on August 27, followed by Italy on August 29.

Reyes said there's no certainty for Utah Jazz star Jordan Clarkson, one of three naturalized players in the Gilas pool, to join the Europe trip due to various factors, and that's the reason why the team included Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame.

“First of all, Jordan Clarkson is not going to be able to join us until hopefully, late July, although looking more like August now,” he said. “He still couldn't make the final decision, so we still have to make sure that we have our options, that's why we have Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame, like I said, to keep our options open.”

And while the group stage won't be easy opponents, Reyes said they are setting a goal of “finishing as the best placed Asian team,” the reward of which earns a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Our goal is to get to the next round. Our goal is to finish as the best placed Asian team. That's the goal, that's the dream to qualify for the Olympics,” Reyes said boldly. “Can we do it? No one can tell, but one thing for sure, we're going to die trying. Nobody's going to try harder.”

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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