Gilas Pilipinas wasted no time and quickly jumped back into FIBA World Cup preparations on Wednesday, one day after returning from a fruitful pocket tournament in Spain.
Andray Blatche led 12 attendees at the Meralco Gym, with only players suiting up in the PBA Commissioner's Cup finals absent from the practice. Joining him were Robert Bolick, CJ Perez, Kiefer Ravena, Mark Barroca, Paul Lee, Matthew Wright, Gabe Norwood, Beau Belga, Raymond Almazan, Poy Erram and Japeth Aguilar.
Coach Yeng Guiao said that he liked the intangibles the team carried over from the Torneo de Malaga, where Gilas played four highly-competitive games against Congo and Ivory Coast for a third-place finish.
"The camp was good. It was all that we expected, except of course we wanted to play Spain but we didn't get to play them. But nonetheless, we played four good games," Guiao said. "Those two teams approximate the Euro teams and also Angola, the African team. We were able to gain that experience, that knowledge, that we set out to do in the first place."
Guiao was especially pleased with the team's heightened conditioning, which was boosted by intensive twice-a-day practices in the week-long camp.
"It was an intense camp," he said. "So that means these guys are in good shape, or at least in better shape from when we left. So that's one thing, we're able to upgrade our conditioning."
However, Guiao and his staff reminded players to look after themselves and preserve their gains from Spain.
"[We asked them to] keep themselves rested, make sure that their bodies are preserved," Guiao said. "I know they get tired in practice, so all the more they need their sleep, their rest.
"We got good conditioning over there. Our cohesion was great, our adjustments to the system, their absorption. We don't want them to forget that, we don't want them to lose their conditioning that we've gained in Spain."
Aside from maintaining game shape and timing with two weeks left before the team flies to China, Guiao also said that Gilas will have a lot of work cut out for them from a tactical standpoint.
"It serves as a basis for us seeing the games against two quality teams, what adjustments to make in these last two weeks," said Guiao. "We're running some new plays and making adjustments on defense because of what we were able to see in Spain."
Some changes will be crucial since their games in that pocket tournament in Malaga were live-streamed, leaving most of their playbook open for Group D opponents to scout.
"That's one concern. Of course we don't want our opponents to scout us and be able to prepare for the way we play, but it's unavoidable. We are also doing the same thing to them, anyway. They're expectedly going to be doing that. It's a concern, but we cannot avoid it," Guiao said.