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Thompson sticking to positives in Gilas tune-up

BARANGAY Ginebra guard Scottie Thompson is sticking to the positives after Gilas Pilipinas dropped its second straight tune-up match with an 85-89 loss to Finland in Tallinn, Estonia.

Playing for the first time since missing the game against Estonia on Tuesday due to back spasms, Thompson contributed 10 points, four assists and two rebounds against Finland.

TOUGH TASK June Mar Fajardo scores an undergoal stab during the Philippine men’s basketball team’s tune-up game against Finland on Wednesday night, June 28, 2023, in Estonia. PHOTO FROM SBP FACEBOOK PAGE

“I had to get a feel first on my back when we were during the warm-up, and good thing, it wasn't that tight so I decided to play also since I've been out for three days. I need to somehow get back in shape,” Thompson said in Filipino during his interview with One Sports' Carlo Pamintuan as posted in the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) Facebook account.

The reigning PBA Most Valuable Player said Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes has reminded them of the importance of starting out strong, especially since they will be facing world-class competition in the 2023 FIBA World Cup in August.

“That's what we need to learn, be all out when we start in the game because we had a bad start in the past two games,” Thompson said.

Still, the 29-year-old Thompson is thankful for the training camp because this is the perfect time for them to learn how to play as a team.

“That's the purpose of the training camp, to get a feel of how we play with European teams. And we hope that through this training camp, this could aid us well as we play in the World Cup,” he added.

Team chemistry

Kiefer Ravena, meanwhile, stressed that the primary focus for Gilas Pilipinas is to build on team chemistry.

The veteran Gilas mainstay said the tune-up matches played against Estonia and Finland are part of the process that could solidify the team in the long run.

“We need to learn to play together,” Ravena told Pamintuan.

“It was June Mar's (Fajardo) first time to play after how many months. And same with Japeth, while others came from other teams. Although we lost, [we remain] positive.”

Ravena, a five-time Southeast Asian Games men's basketball gold medalist, said everyone needs to be patient and stay focused on the big picture amid the team's ongoing 0-2 ledger in the tune-up matches.

“Right now, the process is more important. Hopefully, we will be patient,” said the 29-year-old Ravena, who plays for the Shiga Lakes guard in the Japan B.League. “You can never move forward unless you trust one another and be big in chemistry.”

Gilas bowed to Estonia 81-71 in its first tune-up match Tuesday evening, before succumbing to Finland 89-85 the following night.

The national team will be playing more exhibition games when they fly to Lithuania in the next few days.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net

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