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Youngest Gilas pool formed
Tab Baldwin
Philstar.com/Efigenio Christopher Toledo IV

Youngest Gilas pool formed

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - March 24, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Program director Tab Baldwin said assembling the “youngest-ever” Gilas Pilipinas pool and preparing it for battle against heavyweights like Serbia would serve the national quintet in good stead moving forward.

Gilas has called in 10 newbies from the collegiate ranks and one from high school to join the cadets in Calamba, Laguna as it gears up for the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers and FIBA Olympic Qualification Tournament in June.

“Not only is this the youngest Gilas group ever assembled, it’s probably the youngest that could be assembled and still be called Gilas. If we went any younger, we’d be calling them Batang Gilas,” Baldwin said on The Game program on One Sports.

Gilas is turning to the youth brigade with stalwarts from the PBA declared unavailable for the long training camp for the Asia Cup campaign against South Korea and Indonesia and the OQT bid against powerhouses Serbia and the Dominican Republic.

The nine draftees from the PBA’s special Gilas draft and holdovers from the second window were joined by Lebron Lopez of Ateneo High School, RJ Abarrientos of Far Eastern U, Carl Tamayo of UP and Blue Eagles Kyle Ong and Gian Mamuyac, among other new faces.

“Everybody we brought here, I believe, is in some way a prospect for Gilas in the future if they fulfill their potential, if they work to become the players they are promising to be,” said Baldwin.

“Obviously, we’re looking for a Gilas team to play in the June competitions but we’re also preparing for those situations in the future where we call players in to Gilas camp,” he added.

Baldwin noted that there are “so many players who come in to Gilas camp and just don’t have an idea of the international game and the concepts, the level of skills and intensity” it entails.

“So if we can begin the process of teaching these younger players what this is all about, that really helps in the future -- not having to deal with the sort of elevating the level of intensity and understanding of our players when they come in in the future.

“We’re trying to kill a lot of birds with this ‘bubble stone’ if you will and so far so good, he said.

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