MANILA, Philippines—From practice to tune-up game, coach Tim Cone has no problems letting the public get a peek at Gilas Pilipinas’ preparations for the upcoming Asian Games.
The men’s national team opened its joint training with Gilas Women on Thursday at Philsports Arena to the public with fans even being allowed to take photos with the players after the session at Philsports Arena.
Gilas Pilipinas’ tune-up game against Korean Basketball League team LG Sakers on September 22–the day before the team flies out for China,–at the same venue will also be open to fans. And Cone hopes they come.
“We hope that we can fill the stadium up. Well not really buy it, since we’re not selling tickets,” said Cone in jest.
“We are not selling tickets. We hope we have a full stadium on the 22nd.”
For the longest time under coach Chot Reyes, Gilas Pilipinas usually held closed-door training to prepare for upcoming tournaments. The team’s friendly games for the Fiba World Cup were also held without spectators and media.
The arena in Pasig wasn’t really filled to the brim during the men’s and women’s live practice on Thursday, but a considerable amount of spectators showed up.
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) September 14, 2023
The Barangay Ginebra coach expects that to change when the whole squad faces the KBL team that fielded Filipino import Justin Gutang in the past season.
“We didn’t expect a lot of people to show up today. We are happy with who did it. Very happy,” said Cone, believing these small activities with fan interactions would help Gilas gain traction for the continental meet, according to Cone.
But Gilas still buckled down after the fan activities on Thursday, with Cone lecturing his men for in-game situational.
“To me, the practices are more important [now] because we learn more there than in the games,” he said.
Gilas Pilipinas begins its Asian Games stint when it faces Bahrain on the 26th in China.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.