After all the build-up and the hype, Gilas Pilipinas’ journey to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics begins. And it all starts with the 2017 SEABA Championships set to be held at the historic SMART-Araneta Coliseum at the heart of Quezon City from May 12-18.
In preparation for the regional tournament, the National Team, sponsored by SMART Communications and Bounty Agro Ventures Inc., will begin its preparations with a three-day training camp from Tuesday, March 14 to the 16th. Head coach Chot Reyes, his staff, members of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, and officials from SMART and BAVI will oversee the exercise.
All 26 pool members — headlined by key returnees June Mar Fajardo of the recently-crowned Philippine Cup champions San Miguel Beermen; reigning scoring champion Terrence Romeo of Globalport; and Ginebra big man Japeth Aguilar — are expected to be present.
“We all know that our Southeast Asian neighbors have caught up. Our players, we used to send college players, they’re up against pros kaya mahirap,” the eight-time PBA champion coach Chot Reyes said. “Now, we know that Indonesia has a naturalized player, Thailand will have a naturalized player.
“So we have to be at our best.”
The camp, which will also serve as Gilas’ team-building, will be held at the Tagaytay Highlands in Tagaytay, Cavite. Chooks-to-Go will provide the team’s recovery meals, and the company will be there all throughout this journey.
Besides Fajardo, Romeo, and Aguilar, also expected to be present are Calvin Abueva and Carl Cruz of the Alaska Aces; Paul Lee and Jiovani Jalalon of Star; Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy of the TNT Katropa; Raymond Almazan and Mike Tolomia of Rain or Shine; Jonathan Grey and Ed Daquioag of Meralco; Kevin Ferrer of Ginebra; Bradwyn Guinto and Alfonzo Gotladera of NLEX; Norbert Torres and Matthew Wright of Phoenix’ LA Revilla and Russel Escoto of Mahindra; the Blackwater trio of Mac Belo, Art Dela Cruz and Almond Vosotros; Von Pessumal of Globalport; and Arnold Van Opstal of San Miguel.