Interim coach Mark Dickel said Gilas Pilipinas remains focused ahead of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers despite uncertainty after their first match against Thailand was postponed for concerns over the outbreak of COVID-19.
"It just means we have more time to prepare for the second game," Dickel said Monday. "I think if anything, it only helps us to focus on one opposition."
FIBA announced Friday the postponement of what would have been Gilas' campaign opener along with two other games. The federation has not commented about the second match against Indonesia.
Team manager Gabby Cui, meanwhile, said Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the coaches will focus on training and development if the second game is postponed.
"Continue to develop them, make them practice four times a day, and really intensify the training," Cui said.
Dickel is hoping this Gilas team will produce the same results it did under coach Tim Cone when it beat Indonesia during the semifinals of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games last December in December.
"Really well-organized. They've got good players. We know they're gonna come intense and ready and believe from the start of the game that they can win," Dickel said of Indonesia. "So we have to adjust to that from the start and do the same."
"We're gonna have pretty much different personnel than what they've played with, give and take three or four guys. It's a new team and we've gotta come out and try to play different."
Gilas practiced on Monday with 19 players: team captain Kiefer Ravena, Troy Rosario, Roger Pogoy, CJ Perez, Poy Erram, Justin Chua, Abu Tratter and Marc Pingris, as well as collegiate standouts Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño, Jaydee Tungcab, Thirdy Ravena and Dave Ildefonso. Dwight Ramos and all special Gilas draftees Isaac Go, Matt and Mike Nieto, Rey Suerte and Allyn Bulanadi rounded out the roster.
Javee Mocon was absent, along with Vic Manuel, who asked for more time off, and Ray Parks, who just signed a one-year extension with the TNT KaTropa early Monday.
Dickel said there's a slim chance that Parks and Manuel will move forward with the team's preparations.
"As far as Gilas goes, these guys are all eight or nine days in. Maybe we'll be thinking next window for him," he said of Parks.
Regarding Manuel, Dickel explained: "He'd be so far behind in what the other guys have caught up to now. It's a hard ask. And we're running all different stuff to what he would have run before. It would be very difficult in a short period of time to get that stuff under control."