Half of the Gilas Pilipinas 3x3 pool for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games showed up in a slow but steady first day of practice on Thursday at the Meralco Gym in Ortigas, Pasig.
On the floor with coach Ronnie Magsanoc were Robert Bolick, CJ Perez, Chris Newsome, Mo Tautuaa, Jason Perkins, and Mac Belo. Terrence Romeo, who had the flu, was absent along with Chris Banchero, Anthony Semerad, Baser Amer, Raymond Almazan and Ian Sangalang.
Magsanoc said the first order of business was familiarizing players with the 3x3 rules and ball, which is a bit smaller despite weighing the same as the one used in regular 5-on-5 games.
"There are others who had played in the past, and there are others who only held the ball for the first time," he said. "The ball is smaller, but the weight is the same. The difference is that we played 48 minutes of basketball. Here it's only 10 minutes, and the shot clock's cut in half. But they're all smart, and the most important thing is they're committed, willing to learn."
The coach said they'll look to fast-track the learning process for all the players by focusing on video coaching.
"We are optimistic that we have enough window to integrate all of them well," he said. "I'm optimistic that in time, they will be able to make the adjustments."
Those said adjustments will be the only part Magsanoc and Alex Cabagnot -- who joins him as his assistant coach -- will worry about since, according to him, talent will clearly not be a problem when the tournament comes around.
"The PBA lending us professional players is a big advantage, so we want to maximize that opportunity," said the coach. "Imagine, they're in the middle of the competition in the last conference yet the Board of Governors and Commissioner [Willier Marcial] lent us players. We just have to utilize them properly because they're all willing.
"Of course they expect us to win, so we have to be really prepared to battle because it's not going to be easy."
No definite practice schedules have been set yet, although Magsanoc said they're looking at easing players into sessions in order to lessen the fatigue factor.
"PBA games are held four times a week, so we need to take care of them for their mother teams. At the same time, we still need to fix everyone's schedule because everyone's playing for different teams," he said. "Fatigue is cumulative. Inasmuch as we are trying to teach them and guide them, we have to also make sure that they are taken care of because if they get sick or hurt, they take quite some time to return."
The tournament, which will be held for the first time in regional meet, will be held on December 1 and 2 at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan.