Gilas holds first training with Blatche
The national team pool had its first official practice Monday night at the Meralco gym in Pasig City, with naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche training with the team for the first time after arriving in Manila late Sunday night.
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin said it was a sight to see Blatche participating in the drills with players familiar to the former NBA veteran as well as with new ones.
Baldwin also said the session focused on introducing the system to the players.
“It was about running them through some of the offensive stuff mostly and making them work a little bit on the defensive stuff,” Baldwin told reporters after the two-hour training. “We’re trying to get their feet right because most of these guys got extended breaks from the games and we don’t want them to develop blisters in the first week and miss practices because of silly reasons like that so we did a little bit of cutting and moving and a little bit more running to try and just get their wind-up.”
Former Gilas captain Jimmy Alapag suited up and practiced with the team headed by mainstays Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood and Gary David.
Ranidel de Ocampo was present but just watched from the sidelines.
Also putting in the work were 42-year-old Asi Taulava, Globalport guard Terrence Romeo, Alaska trio of Calvin Abueva, Sonny Thoss and Dondon Hontiveros, former original Gilas member Aldrech Ramos, Talk ‘N Text’s Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Barako Bull forward JC Intal and amateur star Troy Rosario.
Tropang Texters forward Kelly Williams slipped on a wet spot and hurt his right knee at the start of practice. He was visibly in pain and had to be taken to the hospital to have his knee checked.
“I feel sick for Kelly. You hate that and you know he stepped on a wet spot and it could happen anywhere in the world, any gym in the world and I feel for him and I hope it’s not serious,” Baldwin said.
The 2015 Fiba Asia Championship in China is fast approaching and Baldwin knows Gilas still has much to work on in the coming weeks.
“Time will pass by very quickly with these international campaigns and before you turn around you’re already playing games. So we got a lot of work to do in a short period of time.”
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