MANILA, Philippines—From practice to the warm-up match, coach Tim Cone has no problem letting the public get a glimpse of Gilas Pilipinas’ preparations for the upcoming Asian Games.
The men’s national team opened its joint training with Gilas Women to the public on Thursday at the Philsports Arena, with fans even allowed to take photos with the players after the session at the Philsports Arena.
Gilas Pilipinas’ preseason game against Korean Basketball League team LG Sakers on September 22 – the day before the team leaves for China – at the same venue will also be open to fans. And Cone hopes they will come.
“We hope to be able to fill the stadium. Well, don’t really buy it, since we don’t sell tickets,” Cone said jokingly.
“We don’t sell tickets. We hope to have a full stadium on the 22nd.”
For a very long time under coach Chot Reyes, Gilas Pilipinas usually held closed-door practices to prepare for upcoming tournaments. The team’s friendly matches for the Fiba World Cup were also held without spectators or media.
The Pasig Arena wasn’t exactly packed during Thursday’s men’s and women’s practices, but a considerable number of spectators showed up.
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The Barangay Ginebra coach expects that to change when the entire team faces the KBL team that fielded Filipino import Justin Gutang last season.
“We didn’t expect there to be many people today. We are happy with whoever did it. Very happy,” Cone said, believing that these small activities with fan interactions would help Gilas gain ground for the continental competition, according to Cone.
But Gilas still held on after Thursday’s fan activities, with Cone lecturing his men on the in-game situation.
“For me, practices are more important (now) because we learn more there than during matches,” he said.
Gilas Pilipinas begins its stint in the Asian Games by facing Bahrain on the 26th in China.
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