Gilas Pilipinas’ plans to play in Australia, New Zealand shelved for now

Delfin Dioquino
Gilas Pilipinas’ plans to play in Australia, New Zealand shelved for now

CHALLENGING. Looking for quality competition is a challenge Gilas Pilipinas faces in the middle of a pandemic.

Photo from fiba.basketball

Gilas Pilipinas intended to fly to Australia and New Zealand to expose its all-cadet squad to competition for upcoming FIBA tournaments in the middle of the year

Gilas Pilipinas has shelved its plans to play tuneup games overseas as preparation for its international tournaments in the middle of the year.

Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin bared the national team intended to fly to Australia and New Zealand to expose the all-cadet squad to competition.

The national team is currently training at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna to gear up for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament – both in June.

“We cannot seem to bring our plans to fruition,” Baldwin said in the Power and Play with Noli Eala show on Radyo Singko.

“We had plans at the end of this bubble initially to go down to Australia and possibly New Zealand to get games against pro teams down there as preparation for the June calendar.”

But those plans had to be put aside due to the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions in several countries.

“You just cannot get in anywhere right now. Europe is closed, Australia is closed,” Baldwin said.

While Baldwin said the United States is a potential training destination, he argued that Gilas Pilipinas needs to play “real teams” in order to make progress as a team.

The Philippines is slated to face South Korea in the Asia Cup Qualifiers and Serbia and Dominican Republic in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

“We do not need to play composite All-Star teams that are pulled together at the last minute because that is not going to prepare us to go up against a Korean team that is well-trained, a Dominican Republic team that is well-trained, and a Serbian team that is very well-trained and plays like a team.”

If playing abroad is ultimately ruled out, Baldwin has his fingers crossed that the national team can still compete against PBA teams.

“We’re just praying along the PBA that we can find a calendar for the PBA and hopefully we can use games against PBA teams as development,” Baldwin said. – Rappler.com

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.