The first of Gilas Pilipinas' two goodwill games vs. Australian pro club Adelaide 36ers on Friday should test how Gilas looks overall as the FIBA World Cup quickly approaches, coach Yeng Guiao said.
"We'll see tomorrow if from Spain and back to the Philippines if we have gotten better or if we have stagnated, if we need to make more adjustments," he said.
Nothing about the NBL team really jumps off the page for Guiao, but he expects a scrappy, athletic side that should provide simulations of how their Group D foes' size, length and talent will affect them on the floor.
"We don't have any special expectations. We know generally they play hard, we know generally they like to run up and down the court. We know they can shoot the outside shot and we know they have the height and the size to attack us at the post. We picked them because that's how our opponents will look like," explained Guiao.
The 36ers' penchant for running the floor will also give Gilas an opportunity to be able to stay on top of their conditioning ahead of the tournament.
"I understand a few of them are young players so we expect a lot of energy from those players. It's also good for our conditioning because we have to keep up with them, running up and down. That's what we want," he said.
More importantly, the coach thinks this is a good way for Gilas to focus on getting wins when the games start on August 31.
"We need to practice winning," said Guiao. "We need to practice our attitude towards playing any game. That's part of the mental toughness aspect: to consider every game important, to consider every possession, every play important because that's how it's going to be when we play in China.
"And not just practicing your execution, you have to practice your mindset. Part of the practice tomorrow is getting into the right mindset and being mentally tough."
Gilas appears to be making adjustments against their opponents already, with Guiao saying that the staff is preparing some counters against specific type of offenses.
"We've seen the scouting reports, so we're going towards devising our schemes defensively. We're deep into our practices concerning some game plans already, so we're anticipating certain things and we're trying to find solutions in practice," he said.
Meanwhile, Poy Erram and Matthew Wright continue to nurse injuries they sustained earlier this week. Erram practiced for a bit before sitting out the rest of the night, although Guiao said he'll be able to suit up against Adelaide.
"He practiced earlier but he felt pain in his knee. I don't think it's serious but it's only precautionary that he didn't continue with the drills that we went through."
Wright, meanwhile, won't be able to play both games, which will continue to be a source of concern for the national team as they ready a decision for the final 12 on Monday.
"This is the crucial part of our preparations and it's just too bad that he's not able to participate. But we're still hopeful. Maybe right after that, we can still consider his situation," Guiao said of Wright.
"The problem is he's not playing on Friday and Sunday, but we need to make a decision latest Monday, right after the game."