Keeping the nation’s aspirations afloat for a deep 2023 FIBA World Cup tournament run, Gilas Pilipinas’s training camp sees the team match up against Europe’s fledging basketball talent. Gilas triumphed in back-to-back contests against Ukraine’s U-20 squad, bouncing back from losses in their first two games against Estonia and Finland.
The national roster recorded an 84-74 win in their second matchup with three-time Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Best Import Justin Brownlee, notching 21 markers and eight boards. The San Miguel Beermen tandem of CJ Perez (14-points, 4-assists, 4-rebounds, and 2-steals) and June Mar Fajardo (9-points, 4-rebounds, 2-assists, and 1-block) added to the win.
Regardless of the victory, Head Coach Chot Reyes describes the squad’s performance as “part of the learning process,” noting that Gilas Pilipinas is still “far” from their purest form.
“Overall, I think the four games we’ve played have delivered what we expected for us to be able to learn a lot about each other, to be able to learn what we need to work on, and get us into competitive shape while playing against quality competition,” Reyes tells Rappler.
With injuries and scheduling unavailabilities riddling the short-handed national squad, Gilas Pilipinas’ veteran coach emphasizes mastering “fundamentals”—stamina and conditioning, in pursuit of the August world stage. They continue their European tour with a matchup against a Lithuanian selection team on Tuesday, July 4, 2023.