Guiao seeks 'better conditioning' for Blatche, 'better chemistry' for Gilas
MANILA, Philippines – The FIBA World Cup is just around the corner, and Yeng Guiao is looking to ramp up preparations for Gilas Pilipinas and naturalized player Andray Blatche.
Guiao said that Blatche will begin training daily with PBA team NLEX, while the national team will start practicing daily next week, or a month before the global hoops showdown comes off the wraps on August 31.
"Our expectation is to have a better chemistry and for Andray to have a better conditioning because he already needs to play up-and-down and play offense and defense," Guiao said in a mix of Filipino and English.
The national team was a man short from playing five-on-five as only 9 players participated in its practice on Monday, July 22 – largely due to the ongoing Commissioner's Cup playoffs in the PBA.
In attendance were Blatche, Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Kiefer Ravena, Gabe Norwood, Poy Erram, Matthew Wright, CJ Perez, and Beau Belga.
June Mar Fajardo was also present, but he was in street clothes and only watched from the sidelines.
Notably absent were Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Japeth Aguilar, Raymond Almazan, and Robert Bolick.
Guiao, though, understands that players also have a commitment to their ball clubs in the PBA.
"It's really hard to divide your attention at this crucial stage. We'll just have to manage whatever opportunities we have," he said.
"It's the crucial phase of the playoffs, so we're just waiting until the other guys get freed up from their schedules and are able to focus on our practices."
The Filipinos will test their mettle when they fly to Spain on August 4 to compete in a pocket tournament against the host country, Ivory Coast, and Congo. – Rappler.com
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