After naming his 17-man pool, SMART-Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes will buckle down to prepare the team to compete in the FIBA Asia Championship in August.
The Philippine team will begin weekly practices starting Monday, which will go on until the end of the Commissioner’s Cup in May. The team will then get together for daily practices at the conclusion of the tournament.
SMART-Gilas will travel from June 2 to 16 to Lithuania for training. “We will play against six top clubs in Lithuania, then we go back here and play in an invitational tournament where we plan to invite teams from the Middle East,” said Reyes.
An invitational tournament in Manila is being planned for the last week of June, before SMART-Gilas flies to Taiwan to defend the William Jones Cup on July 6 to 16.
Last year, SMART-Gilas defeated a club team from the United States in its final match to win the annual tournament for the first time since 1998. The Jones Cup usually draws the participation of top Asian teams in preparation for the FIBA Asia Championship, which will be held in Manila for the first time in 40 years this year.