It's gold medal or bust for Gilas in Kuala Lumpur
Paul Lintag on Aug 19, 2017 04:01 PM
Kobe Paras is the youngest of a very youthful Gilas Pilipinas team competing at the Southeast Asian Games.
While they certainly had more time to prepare compared to the FIBA-Asia Cup team, the SEA Games version of Gilas Pilipinas still rushed everything before going to Malaysa for the biennial meet.
With the team's first game against Thailand already on Sunday, the braintrust of Chooks to Go-Gilas admits that the national team has not reached its full potential yet.
"We're about 70-80 percent ready. Hopefully, that 80 percent can get things done for the SEA Games," head coach Jong Uichico said.
Despite limited preparation, Uichico is 100 percent sure that his young guns will be motivated for the regional tournament.
They have Pilipinas on their chest after all.
"They're very motivated. Once you don the Philippine colors, you should be motivated. The fact that you're part of the national team should be enough of a motivation," Uichico said.
With the Philippines ruling the basketball scene in Southeast Asia with an iron fist, the pressure is always there for the country to perform and perform well.
As per usual in the SEA Games, it's gold or bust for the Filipinos.
"There's no added pressure, the pressure is there already. Walang dagdag, walang bawas. Basta any coach or any player that is going to the Southeast Asian Games, [they're] supposed to bring home the gold [in basketball]. It doesn't matter if you have one day of practice. You're supposed to [win]," Uichico said.
This batch of young Gilas players know that already and they've come together to embrace that challenge.
"I think this group has a very unique chemistry, kasi lahat sila they either have played with or against each other a long time. Considering they’re younger players, you don’t see that all the time," assistant coach Jimmy Alapag said.
"Now that they’re here in the Gilas program and fighting for the same thing, the chemistry has been very, very strong from the very start. I hope we can carry that from practice and even off the court once we get to Malaysia. I think it will serve us well," he added.
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