SBP Executive Director Erika Dy.

Busy sked for Gilas Pilipinas

GILAS Pilipinas has drawn up a tight, busy schedule for the coming weeks as it gears up for the tough FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Latvia in July.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Erika Dy told the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday the Nationals will first convene on June 22 at the Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna before heading to Turkey and Poland for tune-up games with their counterparts.

Then it’s on to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament set July 2 to 7 in Latvia where coach Tim Cone will try to steer the reigning Asian Games champions to the quadrennial Games, a program dubbed “Mission: Paris.”

“We’re grouped with the host team Latvia and Georgia, both powerhouses, and we’re really looking forward to competing against them,” Dy said during the forum presented by San Miguel Corporation, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Smart/PLDT, MILO, and the 24/7 sports app in the country ArenaPlus.

From Latvia, ‘whether we make it (to Paris) or not,’ the Nationals will prepare for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers at the MOA Arena to face New Zealand and Hong Kong in November.

The Nationals will reconvene six days before the New Zealand game on Nov. 21.

“Premise ni coach Tim, we have the same roster every time. Kapag pinagsama-sama mo ‘yung short training periods, maga-accumulate sila,” said Dy.

“The program is working. He (Cone) has secured the best talents that we have. In the past, hirap na hirap tayo. Because of this shorter training periods, mas madali mag-commit and because high-level players ang mga ito, mas madali sila mag-pickup,¨added Dy.

The Gilas women’s team meanwhile, is looking forward to the Jones Cup in June and the FIBA Women’s World Cup Pre-Qualifying Tournament in August in Rwanda.

During the forum, the SBP official also bared that things are running well regarding the naturalization process for Bennie Boatwright, who was presented before the senators during a consultative meeting the other day.

The SBP is also in the process of acquiring naturalization papers for 6-foot-4 Nigerian Favour Onah, now playing for UP in the UAAP, for the Gilas women’s team of coach Pat Aquino.

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