MANILA, Philippines – For the first time in a long while, Gilas Pilipinas is bound to be at full strength again.
Coach Yeng Guiao admitted he's relieved the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals is over, marking the return of June Mar Fajardo, Roger Pogoy, and Troy Rosario to the national squad with barely two weeks before the FIBA World Cup kicks off.
The Philippine team missed the trio in its Spain camp where it tangled with Congo and Ivory Coast, but it can now iron out its final preparations with everyone back on board after San Miguel disposed of TNT in 6 games.
Fajardo, Pogoy, and Rosario are expected to join Gilas on Monday, August 19, as they try to catch up to the adjustments made by the team in Spain.
Should there have been a do-or-die Game 7 on Sunday, the 3 stars' comeback would have been pushed to a later date, and that may not bode well for the national team with the World Cup just around the corner.
"For the purpose of the national team, of course," said Guiao in a mix of Filipino and English when asked if he's glad the PBA Finals had reached its conclusion.
"Of course if you're thinking about the situation of Talk 'N Text, they want to have another game on Sunday. But everything happens for a reason. There's a good side and a bad side to it."
"But I'm just thinking of the national team, I'm just thinking of Gilas. For me, it's good that they'll able to be with us on Monday."
While the triumvirate has been away from Gilas for two weeks, Guiao believes conditioning will not be a concern for them after engaging in a grueling finals series.
"I'm sure they have no problems with fitness. Actually, the problem for them is resting and recovering because they are tired from the finals. But fitness-wise, I think once they recover, they'll be good to go."
The national team will take a break on Sunday before ramping up their buildup by adding more hours to their practices starting Monday. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.