Gilas Pilipinas is looking to fly out to Russia and Spain as part of its preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio revealed he is in talks with officials from the aforementioned countries to organize the tune-up games for Gilas, which is grouped with Italy, Serbia, and Angola.
Panlilio is in touch with former NBA player Andrei Kirilenko, who is currently the commissioner of the Russian Basketball Federation. He added they are planning to schedule the friendlies towards the end of August in time for the conclave among the top baskeball countries which begins on August 31.
"We're organizing that now, I'm in touch with Andrei Kirilenko. He wants us to go to Russia," said Panlilio after a press conference where he unveiled the new logo of the national team.
Initially, Russia proposed a single friendly against the Philippines. Now it's willing to arrange at least two games.
"That's something we're trying to finalize with Andrei Kirilenko," he said.
Before the Russia trip, SBP is also laying out a series of tune-up games against Spain. But nothing is set in stone yet. Panlilio and the SBP are hoping to finalize the schedule in the next few days.
"We've actually gotten many invites but we're also looking at Spain as a potential (opponent for friendlies)," he said.
"What we presented to the board is Yeng (Guiao) wanted to have a full time in August so he can assess where we are, do his adjustments, maybe two- to three-week period, and go to the last friendly to really get ready for the World Cup."
Meanwhile, Guiao wants to naturalized player Andray Blatche rejoin the team late July.
"Coach Yeng wants him to come late July or maybe mid-July and maybe start practicing. We want to make sure he's fit. We're communicating with him," Panlilio said.