The PBA players’ pool comprising the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national squad held its first practice Tuesday, a relaxed session inside The Arena in San Juan.
“All 16 players who were selected were there,” SMART-Gilas coach Chot Reyes told InterAKTV in a telephone interview. “It goes to show that they really want to be part of this team.”
“We don’t have a call time, but players were there early.”
Reyes said the players had a simple walkthrough of some of the things they’re going to do once they compete in the international competition. The SMART-Gilas five will play next year in the FIBA Asia Championship, the qualifying tournament for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain in 2014.
Attending Monday’s practice were Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams, Gabe Norwood, Gary David, LA Tenorio, Jason Castro, Larry Fonacier, Ryan Reyes, Sonny Thoss, Ranidel De Ocampo, Enrico Villanueva, JVee Casio, Jeff Chan, Jared Dillinger, Mac Baracael and Sol Mercado.
Only Ryan Reyes was unable to join the 45-minute training, due to a hyperextended knee.
“We just want to make them feel they’re already part of the team. We don’t impose fines on late on practices because we all know that they themselves want to be part of the team. Practice will be every Monday, but we still don’t know when do we practice next,” said Chot Reyes.
“I’m happy with the development and for a first day of practice, I was happy with the turnout.”
Marcus Douthit, the team’s naturalized player, was unable to join as he had to rush his daughter to the hospital.
“Nagkaroon ng asthma attack yung daughter ni Marcus so we had to excuse him,” said team manager Butch Antonio, who described the practice as fun and competitive.
“The excitement is still the same from the previous batch of SMART-Gilas. Players were also responsive, even sa pagtuturo ng plays. We ran about three plays and yung mga nakakaalam ng plays, sila na mismo nagtuturo sa mga hindi nakakaalam, para silang mga playing assistant coaches.”
After 45 minutes of practice, the coaching staff headed by Reyes, Jong Uichico, Ryan Gregorio, Nash Racela and Josh Reyes ended the session, before the team proceeded to Outback Restaurant for dinner.
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