There will be a great focus on improving the team’s mental toughness when Gilas Pilipinas returns to training in preparation for the Fiba Asia Cup (International Basketball Federation) in August.
That was one of the lessons learned by the team at the recent Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Serbia, where the Philippines missed out on a spot at the Tokyo Olympics. The Filipinos raised hopes for a risky Olympic appearance when they credibly fared in a loss to No. 5 host Serbia. But things completely fell apart in an ugly loss to the Dominican Republic.
“I told the team after the game that this was not necessarily a physical beating that we received; I think it was a mental beating from the Dominican, ”said coach Tab Baldwin after a 94-67 loss on Friday morning (Manila time). “I think our mental toughness was really questioned tonight and it’s something we have to work on, it’s something we have to train a little bit harder.”
“We have to be a little better prepared for what some of these international teams are going to bring against you.”
Baldwin said members of the national group must fully understand that the pride and enthusiasm they have in representing the country is not exclusive.
“Everybody gets excited about the fact that we play for our country and we play for our flag, sometimes I think we forget and the other teams do too,” he said. “There is a lot of pride in the other teams and in practically all the international basketball teams that play for their country. When your pride is challenged, you should expect a very, very tough response. We get it in the second half [against the Dominican Republic]. Unfortunately, we were not up to the task … But we will learn. “
Baldwin expects the pool to be back in a training bubble in Calamba, Laguna province, around July 20. INQ
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