WRITER Sol F. Juvida has forwarded to me a Rappler report saying that Gilas Pilipinas has abandoned plans to play tune-up games in Australia and New Zealand.
I don’t usually believe reports emanating from the social media. But this time, I need to believe it. Rappler is not only reliable but super reliable as well.
In his Rappler item, Delfin Dioquino cited the coronavirus pandemic as the main reason for the shelving of both Gilas trips down under. He quoted Tab Baldwin, the Gilas Pilipinas project director, as saying: “You just cannot get in anywhere right now. Europe is closed. Australia is closed. New Zealand is closed.”
Not absolutely closed, but hassles on travel restrictions make it difficult, almost impossible, to get to Australia and New Zealand. In fact, it is not really advisable now for any athlete to travel just for exposure. No one does that anymore amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Enough that athletes training for now are confined at the Inspire Bubble Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
Said Baldwin: “We had plans at the end of this bubble to go to Australia and New Zealand for games against pro teams down there as preparation for the June calendar.”
Forget it, Tab.
Even without those trips, we will still win against either South Korea or Indonesia in June to get to the Fiba Asia Cup proper.
But even if both trips were realized, we will still lose to Serbia and the Dominican Republic in the June Olympic qualifiers. Illusion it is to get past these basketball powers, even if you have Kai Sotto and Ange Kouame inserted into Gilas.
You said it yourself, Tab: “Even our composite All-Star team is not going to go anywhere against the well-trained Koreans, Dominicans and Serbians.”
Thus, the planned trips to Australia and New Zealand are just a stab at nonsense, a waste of money.
Tab also said, “Gilas needs to play real teams in order to progress as a real team.”
Upps! Are you saying our PBA teams are unreal teams? OMG!
Gilas clashing against PBA teams in the planned PBA season opening next month is already a luxury in these dire times.
That should even save the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas precious money amid the health crisis.