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Shorthanded Gilas gets much-needed reps with help of NLEX

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Shorthanded Gilas scrimmages against NLEX (2:28)

Gilas Pilipinas played five-on-five scrimmages against the NLEX Road Warriors on Wednesday at the Meralco Gym in Pasig. (2:28)

Gilas Pilipinas played five-on-five scrimmages against the NLEX Road Warriors on Wednesday at the Meralco Gym in Pasig. Assistant coach Caloy Garcia, stepping in for coach Yeng Guiao, was pleased with the help that NLEX provided for their FIBA World Cup preparations.

"The reason why we're doing this is because we want the players to go up and down. At the same time, we wanted to execute our offense," Garcia said.

Gilas played four 25-minute, first-to-21 scrimmages with NLEX instead of a full-blown tune-up game. The Road Warriors were able to steal the first set before Gilas proceeded to win the next three, highlighted by a decisive 21-0 win in the third run.

"At the start, the players took some time to figure things out, but in the second, third and fourth set we looked a lot better," Garcia noted.

The setup is far from the ideal situation for Gilas, though. The team continued to miss a huge chunk of its pool due to the ongoing Commissioner's Cup semifinals. Eight players - Andray Blatche, Kiefer Ravena, Robert Bolick, CJ Perez, Paul Lee, Mark Barroca, Matthew Wright and Raymond Almazan - were present for the three-hour session.

"We wanna see [Gilas] improve. There's a satisfaction when you know that in our little way we are able to just help them out. We have to do anything to help our national team," said NLEX assistant coach Jojo Lastimoa.

"It's gonna help NLEX first in a way that we're gonna go against better competition, but at the same time the help really is for them to really just get a feel for full-court. They're leaving next week and they haven't even formed a team yet so it's good that we can see them going up and down."

"It would be nice if we still had the whole time really working out," said Garcia. "It's a big challenge, but I think by the time that we go to Spain we would know at least what to fix. As of now we're playing with what we have."