Philippine basketball

Gilas Pilipinas breaks camp as ‘NCR Plus’ enters ECQ

Delfin Dioquino
Gilas Pilipinas breaks camp as ‘NCR Plus’ enters ECQ

COMPETITION. Gilas Pilipinas has a couple of major international tournaments lined up in the middle of 2021.

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The abrupt end of Gilas Pilipinas' training camp deals another blow to its preparations for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Gilas Pilipinas abruptly ended its training camp at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba City, Laguna, as the government put “NCR Plus” under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting Monday, March 29.

Laguna is part of “NCR Plus,” which also includes Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, and Cavite.

Heeding the instructions of the Philippine Sports Commission, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) said it will break camp.

“The timing is unfortunate because our Gilas Pilipinas pool has been putting a lot of work to prepare for FIBA competitions in the coming months,” SBP president Al Panlilio said.

“It has been a difficult stretch for the SBP and the team as COVID-19 has affected so many of our plans, but we have no other choice but to adjust and move forward,” Panlilio added.

Entering the Laguna bubble last March 15, the all-cadet Gilas Pilipinas pool was supposed to train there for a month until April 15.

The cancellation of the training camp dealt another blow to the preparations of the national team, which is gearing up for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament – both in June.

Gilas Pilipinas earlier shelved plans to play tuneup games in Australia and New Zealand due to travel restrictions brought by the pandemic.

“Right now, we all have to hunker down and stay safe at home. We thank our players, coaches, and staff for soldiering on amidst the difficult situation,” Panlilio said. –

Delfin Dioquino

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.