Gilas coach Baldwin: We’re still not at level we want
DESPITE finishing second in the Jones Cup and winning the MVP Cup, Smart Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin does not want the nationals to be complacent as the team heads to the 2015 FIBA-Asia Championship in eight days.
The Kiwi-American coach said while he is happy with the progress that the nationals had shown after the two tune-up tournaments, he said he is far from being contented.
Baldwin said there were a lot of positives that the team attained both in the Jones Cup and the recent MVP Cup, but added that his wards still need to sharpen up and get into tip-top form for the FIBA-Asia tilt.
“We’ve had some good progress and improvement but we’re still not yet at the level that we want,’’ said Baldwin of his team’s status. “I’m not comfortable and I don’t want to be comfortable.’’
After going winless (0-3) in Estonia for its first set of tune-up games, the Smart Gilas had improved considerably in the last two tournaments. Baldwin said that the nationals certainly benefitted from the tough competition that they got in the last three weeks.
“For us, there’s really a lot of benefit coming out of those tournaments that we participated in,’’ said Baldwin. “We’re thrilled that we were able to achieve what we’ve achieved but the more important work still lies ahead and we know that these experiences we’ve had in our previous tournaments will help us a lot.’’
Even without naturalized star Andray Blatche, Smart Gilas did quite well in the Jones Cup two weeks ago in Taipei, where it captured the country’s first silver medal after finishing with a 6-2 mark while last weekend, the nationals won the MVP Cup in front of their hometown crowd behind a 3-0 sweep.
The MVP Cup is the last tune-up tournament the Philippine Team will head to Cebu City for further training before it plunges to action in Changsa, China for the big Asian tournament, which will be held from Sept. 23 to Oct. 3.
The Philippine Team is looking to capture the gold medal in the FIBA-Asia tournament and earn the only ticket available for the continent in the 2016 Rio Olympics.