Gilas gets green light for Russia training, June practices

Gilas Pilipinas to ramp up practices in June (0:51)

The PBA has cleared Gilas Pilipinas' to hold practices twice a week starting in June in preparation for the FIBA World Cup. Gilas will also hold a minicamp in Russia after the Commissioner's Cup. (0:51)

Gilas Pilipinas has permission from the PBA to hold twice-a-week training sessions beginning in June, as well as a mini-camp in Russia, to prepare for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China starting on August 31.

League commissioner Willie Marcial confirmed the plans Thursday following the board of governors meeting at league headquarters in Libis, Quezon City.

The PBA has not yet approved coach Yeng Guiao's request to have daily practices in August. Guiao is expected to submit a 14-man lineup for the World Cup.

"We're still talking about the schedule in August. For now, they will hold twice-a-week practices from June to July," Marcial said in Filipino.

Naturalized player Andray Blatche is expected to join the June practices, a source said.

Gilas is set for a four-day training camp in Russia after the Commissioner's Cup. The mid-season conference could end on August 21.

Gilas is scheduled to play tune-up games against the bigger and stronger Russian teams, which will go a long way in the Philippines' preparations for Serbia (ranked fourth in the world), Italy (13th), and Angola (39th).

"It's good training for the team because they will face bigger foes there," said Marcial.

Tune-up games against Australia, though, is already out of the question since the Boomers can no longer accommodate Gilas in their schedule.

The FIBA World Cup will run from August 31 to September 15. The top Asian team in the tournament, not including Japan, will secure a slot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.