Gilas Pilipinas: China tune-up among plans for Olympic Qualifying Tournament

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After its successful FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers Clark campaign, Gilas Pilipinas will now shift its focus to preparing for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia in July.

The Philippines will battle against the Dominican Republic and the powerhouse hosts in back-to-back matches  from July 1 to 2.

The nation got a last-minute invite to the tournament based on its FIBA ranking, after the New Zealand squad pulled out due to its local situation.

It will be the second straight OQT for Gilas, which hosted a tournament in 2016 but got swept by France and the Tall Blacks.

Head coach Tab Baldwin unveiled some of the plans for Gilas in the days to come, including bringing possibly only “12 to 13” players to Belgrade.

Baldwin added the players who suited up in the three games in the third window will be the pool to choose the Final 12 from.

That would mean the likes of Matt Nieto, Dave Ildefonso, and Rey Suerte, who are all nagging with injuries, are out of consideration.

The mentor also hinted at a possible tune-up game against China, who will stay in the Philippines for a bit longer before heading to their own FIBA OQT in Canada.

“Every game that we can get for these young men is extremely important. China is an elite team. That will be great for us,” Baldwin said.

After the Olympic qualifying tournament, Gilas will continue its busy schedule and try to win the continental championship at the FIBA Asia Cup in Indonesia in August.

FIBA.basketball photo

Levi Verora