MANILA, Philippines – Gilas-Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin said that the 26-man pool for the country’s national basketball team will be announced after the head coach meets with all team owners of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Speaking to the media on Monday, June 29, Baldwin said that the PBA has already had his list of preferred 26 players for the pool “for quite some time” now and specified that he handed the list since the PBA Commissioner’s Cup ended in April.
“The PBA will announce the list as I understand it after we have met with all the owners and we haven’t done that yet,” said Baldwin, who was watching Game 2 of the quarterfinal series between the San Miguel Beermen and Meralco Bolts.
Baldwin also shot down reports that have surfaced online about the names of players on his list. “That’s not my list,” he said, without specifying which media outlet he was referring to.
With regards to the 26-man pool, Baldwin says there won’t be much surprises when it’s announced by the PBA.
“There might be one or two surprises but I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of surprises in the list,” he said.
“I think we have fairly astute basketball fans and coaches and players and I think most people know the players in the PBA that are of the caliber to help the national team and I don’t think I’ve strayed very far in the selections.”
Baldwin recently said that most of the names that were included in Gilas’ international tournaments last year will be present in his pool.
“I hope every player wants to help out,” Baldwin said about PBA players willing to give their time and effort to the national team. “I would hope every player was offering their talents and their abilities and their experience to Gilas. As the coach and as part of the coaching staff, we want every resource available to us that we can get our hands on.”
There have been multiple reports that indicate August 1 is the targeted start date for Gilas’ training sessions in preparation for the 2015 FIBA-Asia Championship to be held in China in September. Baldwin, who recently said he would support the PBA shifting back to a two-conference format, says that he doesn’t plan to ease players in, even if practices for the national team take place shortly after the conclusion of the Governors’ Cup.
“I don’t believe in easing,” said the head coach. “They’ll have some time off and it probably, for the guys playing in the finals, it probably will be a little bit too short, but that’s the nature of the beast. We only have about 6 to 7 weeks to prepare and that’s a pretty limited time frame for the first year… so we’re going to have to put a bit of pressure.”
“Those guys that are nursing [nagging] injuries or something like that, we’ll have to take care of them in the first week or so of training, but I’m not a guy that really believes in putting ceilings on players,” he continued.
“I really believe that we probably treat our players – we probably spoil them a little bit too much. I think there’s a lot more in the tank than what we get out of the players and I’m a guy that pushes players really hard, so we will go to a heavy training schedule right away.” – Rappler.com