Gilas considers various options to toughen up

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    PLAY in one of the PBA conferences or in a pocket tourney?

    These are among the options the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has for Gilas Pilipinas, according to SBP executive director Renauld “Sonny” Barrios.

    “Nag-usap kami ni Commissioner Willie (Marcial) on Gilas being able to play in the PBA, whether it’s going to be in the conference, or we will come up with a pocket tournament,” Barrios said on Radyo5 92.3 News FM’s Power and Play program hosted by former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala.

    “Maliwanag na gusto namin magkaroon ng something in that nature,” he added.

    The Filipino cagers have their work cut out for them.

    Gilas is set to toughen up anew at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna this month for the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers tentatively set from June 14 to 20 in Clark.

    The nationals will also try to clinch a Tokyo Games slot in the Olympic qualifying tournament from June 29 to July 4 in Belgrade, Serbia.

    Barrios, a former PBA chief, admitted Gilas needs exposure.

    “They’re also looking at the possibility of going abroad,” he said. “Ang kulang sa preparation is iyong competition. Hindi naman puwedeng scrimmage lang nang scrimmage.

    Iyon ang tinitignan nila coach Tab (Baldwin) and coach Jong (Uichico).”

    With Serbian tactician Rajko Toroman calling the shots, the last time the nationals saw action in the pro league was in 2011 mid-season Commissioner’s Cup when the team, bannered by then amateur standouts Chris Tiu, JVee Casio, Mark Barroca, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz, Japeth Aguilar, and naturalized player Marcus Douthit, finished with a 7-2 card and reached the semifinals but lost to Ginebra.

    Gilas needs just a win to gain a berth in the FIBA Asia Cup set from Aug. 16 to 28 in Indonesia.