MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas canceled practice for the first time since it started gearing up for the upcoming Southeast Asian Games as the playoff race in the PBA Governors' Cup intensifies.
National team head coach Tim Cone and his staff decided to call off their training session on Monday, November 18, to give players seeing action on the final day of the Governors' Cup elimination round enough time to rest.
The games on Wednesday, November 20, will have big implications on the playoffs, with Alaska seeking to complete the quarterfinals cast with a win over NLEX, while TNT and San Miguel vie for the last twice-to-beat bonus.
Gilas Pilipinas pool players who will see action on Wednesday are Kiefer Ravena (NLEX), Vic Manuel (Alaska), Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario (TNT), and June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross, and Marcio Lassiter (San Miguel).
Also, TNT is coming off an out-of-town game in Davao City last Saturday, November 16, against Magnolia.
"[T]heir focus is somewhere else, their energy is being reserved for something else. That's why I'd like to get this thing, the quarterfinals, done, and then we can really focus on the SEA Games," Cone said on Sunday, November 17.
Cone added that the Taiwanese team withdrawing from their tuneup game on Monday also played a role in the cancellation of practice.
"[T]hey were supposed to come here and do a series of games, but their two main players got injured and they decided to back out, not just from us but from other teams as well," Cone said.
"If we're not going to play, we might as well let the guys really rest and get ready, get through the quarters, so that they can put their total focus on Gilas and the SEA Games."
Although the SEA Games will kick off in less than two weeks on November 30, Cone expressed faith that his players are well capable of coming together.
"It's always a difficult situation. You make the best you can out of it, and I trust the guys, I trust our players that when the time comes, they'll be ready." – 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.