Batang Gilas’ goal for World Cup? ‘The aim is to surprise people’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Apr 10, 2018 10:59 PM
Batang Gilas’ goal for World Cup? ‘The aim is to surprise’
Photo courtesy of Chooks-to-Go

Batang Gilas will be competing in the country’s only second stint in the FIBA Under-17 World Cup.

If they hope to do a better chance than the Philippines’ 1-6 run the last time around, they will have to contend with Croatia, France, and Argentina in the group stages.

Yes, eighth-ranked Croatia, third-ranked France, and fifth-Argentina.

Yes, the so-called Group of Death.

Still, the 30th-ranked Filipinos are nothing but upbeat about their chances. “The aim (there) is to surprise people,” assistant coach Josh Reyes said, full of confidence, in their homecoming dinner hosted by Chooks-to-Go on Tuesday at the Crowne Plaza in Ortigas.

Reyes went on to say that they are not sweating the fact that they will wage war in the Group of Death. “Honestly, we haven’t looked at the teams yet, but the names of those countries alone, they’re very tough,” he said.

He then continued, “But I believe with the proper preparation, I think we can really compete.”

The assitant coach pointed to the presence of Kai Sotto, and twin tower Raven Cortez, as a major reason for their positive outlook. “We are not a small team anymore. Physically, we can hang with these guys,” he shared.

He then continued, “It’s just the preparation and the experience of being there. Once we get used to having high standards and qualifying to these tournaments, the belief will be there.”

That is exactly why Reyes vowed that Batang Gilas will go all-out in the World Cup on June in Argentina. “From now until we fly to Argentina, we’re not preparing for a vacation. We’re preparing to win,” he expressed.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo. 

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