Coach Yeng Guiao sets tone for Gilas, as FIBA World Cup build-up starts

Head coach Yeng Guiao preached the importance of sacrifice as he met with Gilas Pilipinas members on Thursday. File/George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines men’s national basketball team began its preparations for the 2019 FIBA World Cup on Thursday night, with head coach Yeng Guiao setting the tone for the squad in a meeting at Meralco Gym in Pasig.

They did not practice, but Guiao convened the team to discuss the mission in front of them and the expectations for the team.

“What we had today was coach Yeng really set the tone,” said team manager Gabby Cui. “What we need to sacrifice, what we have to do for the country, ano ang kailangan na expectation for each team member so we can really deliver a good World Cup performance.”

According to Cui, Guiao stressed the need for sacrifice, something that he also emphasized during the qualifiers.

“More of the sacrifice. Be ready to sacrifice again for your country,” Cui said when asked about Guiao’s message to the team.

“I mean, they’re going to practice everyday with their teams, they’re going to have to devote more time here, extra time away from their families and their bodies also will have to extend their physical limits.”

Also discussed was the team’s schedule leading up to the World Cup. The squad begins its regular practices next week, with naturalized center Andray Blatche set to join them on July 8. Gilas will then fly to Spain for a training camp from August 4 to 11.

Guiao also asked the Gilas players to “do their best with their (mother) teams.”

“He wants to see them . . . spend another extra hour in the gym with their mother team, because when you come here, it’s more about the jelling and getting to run the plays,” said Cui.

Present in the meeting were the same members of the team that competed in the final window of the World Cup qualifiers, although Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar, along with Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena, did not attend.

The Philippines is in Group D together with Angola, Italy, and Serbia. The World Cup runs from August 31 to September 15.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.

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