Cohesion, fatigue pose concerns when Fajardo, others return to Gilas

Coach Yeng Guiao acknowledged the slight problems that the return of June Mar Fajardo, RR Pogoy and Troy Rosario will present in their return next week to Gilas Pilipinas' practices for the FIBA World Cup.

Guiao said that the trio, who are more or less shoo-ins in the final 12, will have a lot of catching up to do in terms of chemistry since they have not been able to join the national team for most of the build-up.

"More or less they have slots. They're shoo-ins. My problem is not making the decision on whether they're in or not. My problem is trying to jell them with only a week to go after that. That's really the problem," worried Guiao.

"These 12 have cohesion. The three didn't have a lot of practice days. Although they practice, they were conscientious in their practices with us, the mere fact that their minds aren't focusing on Gilas right now, there's going to be some adjustments to refocus their minds and their attention to what we do in the Gilas team," he added.

Exhaustion will also be a big concern as the three have been logging a lot of minutes ever since they started their quest for the title in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

"Not only the physical fatigue, but also mental fatigue. It's been an emotional series so once they come in, they would want one or two days of break. But at the same time they will lose practice days. It's difficult, but we will survive," Guiao said.

"That's going to take a few days too, especially if one wins the championship or not, there's going to be an emotional toll on you," he added.

Guiao, though, hopes that Fajardo, Pogoy and Rosario don't take too long in their short recoveries.

"I just hope it's a short period, I hope they won't take a while to adjust. But we all know what they're going through. It's a difficult time, but at the same time it's exciting. All of those will have a toll on their focus and concentration," he said.

Only the trio and the injured Marcio Lassiter were absent on Thursday at the Meralco Gym. Present were Andray Blatche, Robert Bolick, Kiefer Ravena, CJ Perez, Paul Lee, Matthew Wright, Mark Barroca, Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, Raymond Almazan, Poy Erram and Japeth Aguilar.

Gilas will be practicing daily and will add more hours as the final two weeks of their preparations quickly wind down.

"We're just going to wind up this week with our regular practices. But next week, we have an extra hour for the shooting drills, and another for our video watching," said Guiao.

"We'll add more hours next week and we're hoping by that time, the three are ready from the finals. Again, we're hoping to see some improvement when we play Adelaide. And then [we'll make] final adjustments after that."