Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao hopes to add more days of practice as they continue preparations for the FIBA World Cup, which is less than two months away.
"We are feeling the urgency," said Guiao. "Twice a week [of practice] is too infrequent for such a big responsibility of representing the country in the World Cup."
Gilas is constrained to limit practice sessions to Mondays and Thursdays because the players continue to juggle their duties with the national team and their mother teams in the PBA. Guiao said the divided focus is slowing down their progress.
"What we practice Monday, we start over again on a Thursday because they forget it," said Guiao. "We cannot really build a good foundation based on that."
With the PBA playoffs set to begin this weekend, the players' hectic schedules will get even busier in the coming days.
"I know the players' focus is on the playoffs so it's really difficult getting them to focus on the job at hand," said Guiao. "Getting used to the plays without pressure is different from playing the game under pressure, so they would keep coming back to their old system with their mother teams."
Gilas is looking to tap practice players outside of the 19-man pool to help with the preparations. According to Guiao, several PBA players have volunteered to join the practices including San Miguel's Chris Ross and NLEX's Asi Taulava.
"It's easy to get enough warm bodies, but of course, as much as possible, we want to practice with players who are already included in the pool," said Guiao.
Guiao stressed the need to practice more frequently, especially now that they only have a few days left before they fly to Spain for a four-team pocket tournament.
"We're feeling the pressure of getting the players to know our patterns by heart," said Guiao. "We're going to need more than twice a week to be able to make the players run the system instinctively because that requires a lot of repetition and time."
Thirteen players led by Andray Blatche joined Thursday night's practice at the Meralco Gym. June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee, Robert Bolick, Mark Barroca, and Christian Standhardinger did not attend.