Gilas’ last warm-ups slated in Guadalajara
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines will play two warm-up games against the Dominican Republic and Egypt at the 5,600-seat Palacio Multiusos in Guadalajara, 60 kilometers northeast of Madrid, to cap Gilas’ training schedule before moving to Seville for the start of Group B action at the FIBA World Cup on Aug. 30.

David Perez, a Filipino migrant living in New Zealand, and Spanish player agent Juan Lasso organized friendlies in Guadalajara for the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Senegal and Estonia through the Madrid sports promotion company Arior Management. Perez also arranged Gilas’ training camp in New Zealand last year and introduced Tab Baldwin to coach Chot Reyes. Baldwin, an American who piloted New Zealand to the 2002 FIBA World Cup semifinals, is now a consultant with Gilas and working with Reyes in Spain.

The first match in Guadalajara pits Senegal against Estonia tomorrow. Then, it’s Senegal against the Dominican Republic on Saturday, Estonia against Egypt (11 a.m.), Philippines against the Dominican Republic and Estonia against Senegal (7 p.m.) on Sunday and Philippines against Egypt and Estonia against the Dominican Republic on Monday.

The Philippines and Senegal are bracketed in Group B at the FIBA World Cup in Seville. Egypt is in Group A in Granada while the Dominican Republic in Group C in Bilbao. Estonia will not play at the FIBA World Cup and is in Spain training for future competitions.

While the Philippines and Senegal will not face off in Guadalajara, they get a chance to size each other up playing against other teams. The Philippines and Senegal meet on Sept. 4 in Seville.

As of last Tuesday, Senegal still had 16 players in its roster, four more than the allowed limit when the tournament begins. Of the 16 in the lineup, eight played with US college teams, three made it to the NBA and nine are 6-9 or over. The NBA veterans are 6-11 Gorgui Dieng of Louisville (Utah’s first round pick, 2013), 7-0 Hamady N’Diaye of Rutgers and 7-0 Mouhamed Saer Sene (Seattle’s first round pick, 2006).

Perez said he expects the Filipino community in Madrid to drive to Guadalajara to cheer for Gilas. There are about 20,000 Filipino residents in the Spanish capital city.

Gilas team manager Aboy Castro said a warm-up with Mexico on Saturday in Vitoria was cancelled. A practice game against Angola will push through tonight (tomorrow morning, Manila time) in San Sebastian. A Euroleague football championship match will be played in San Sebastian after the Philippines’ warm-up game so traffic is expected to be heavy in the city.

Guadalajara has a long tradition as a sports hub and hosted the World Karate Junior and Cadet Championships and the President’s Cup of the World Handball Championships last year. It is the permanent training venue of the Spanish national youth basketball teams and the Spanish national handball and volleyball squads. Guadalajara has also hosted stages of the Spanish national women’s wheelchair team.

Palacio Multiusos was built in 2010 and its features include an isotonic room, gym, FIBA-standard basketball systems, medical equipment, big lockerrooms, access control and a wooden court. There is a basin for ice baths, a stretcher, ice machine, fruits and water in every lockerroom. Guadalajara has an extensive network of sports facilities including 10 pavilions, three water complexes, an athletics arena and a football stadium.

Gilas will be billeted at the Hotel Trip Melia Guadalajara, only a 15-minute ride to the Palacio Multiusos. The team leaves Guadalajara for Seville on Tuesday.

Since arriving in Spain last Aug. 7, Gilas has played in five warm-up games, beating a Spanish All-Star squad, 89-58 and losing to France, 75-68, without Jayson Castro (bruised right hip and elbow) Australia, 97-75, Ukraine, 114-64, without Andray Blatche (ankle) and Paul Lee (hip) and Euskadi, 75-66, without Lee. Against Euskadi, Castro went down with an ankle and Achilles injury after scoring two points in 11 minutes and was scheduled to undergo an MRI yesterday. Blatche had 19 points and seven rebounds. Jimmy Alapag compiled nine points, three rebounds and two assists while Marc Pingris contributed 10 points and nine boards. L. A. Tenorio and Gabe Norwood scored seven each.

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