Gilas to resume bubble training in Calamba

Published April 25, 2021, 8:28 PM

by Waylon Galvez

After almost a month of break, Gilas Pilipinas will resume its practice session inside a bubble training camp in preparation for the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers this June in Pampanga.

The national team halted its training camp after the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) called on the athletes to stop all training as the government implemented the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila and nearby provinces late last month.

Upon the approval of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio, Gilas will re-enter the bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy Monday, April 26, in Calamba, Laguna.

“The SBP heeded the instructions of the PSC when they asked all national athletes to halt their training during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ),” said Panlilio Sunday.

“When the IATF announced that they will be lifting those limitations, we immediately worked on getting the team back together. Of course there were protocols that we had to complete including the testing for all the members of the pool but the team’s ready to go back to work.”

A total of 20 players are returning inside the bubble, including 2019 PBA Rookie Draft picks Matt Nieto, Mike Nieto, Isaac Go and Rey Suerte, as well as this year’s picks Jordan Heading, William Navarro, Tzaddy Rangel and JD Tungcab.

Joining them are Kemark Carino, Javi Gomez de Liano, Dave Ildefonso, SJ Belangel, Carl Tamayo, Justine Baltazar, Jason Credo, Geo Chiu, Lebron Lopez, RJ Abarrientos and naturalization candidate Ange Koame.

Dwight Ramos will also join the training camp although he is still in the US.

The national team will face Indonesia and South Korea twice in the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers on June 16 to 20 in Clark, Pampanga.

Also, Gilas Pilipinas will go to Belgrade in Serbia from June 29 to July 4 to take on the host team and the Dominican Republic in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) for the Tokyo Olympics.

Gilas Pilipinas men’s national team Program Director Tab Baldwin will be joined by fellow coaches Jong Uichico, Sandy Arespacochaga, Boyet Fernandez, Caloy Garcia, Alton Lister, Sandro Soriano, and trainer Dex Aseron.

“We appreciate everyone’s eagerness to rejoin the bubble and we’re hopeful that the team will get to pick up where they left things off before they broke camp,” said Panlilio.

“The FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and the OQT are fast approaching and, although the postponements have been tough on everyone, we remain confident that this training pool will put in the work necessary to perform at their best.”