Gilas to train, play in Spain

May 31, 2019

GILAS Pilipinas will now fully concentrate on setting up training camp solely in Spain prior to its campaign in the FIBA World Cup.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) President Al Panlilio said the federation submitted before the PBA Board on Thursday the national team’s itinerary of playing a mini tournament in Spain, which features the home team, Ivory Coast, and Congo.

The date of the trip though is still being determined based on the revision of the schedule being done by the league in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup.

“Based on the schedule we (SBP) submitted to the PBA, yun ang naka-calendar doon – practice games and a mini-tournament in Spain for the Gilas Pilipinas team,” said Panlilio after attending the regular board meeting of the league presided by chairman Ricky Vargas.

The SBP initially had Spain and Russia under its radar as possible training camps for its preparation for the August 31 to Sept. 15 meet in China.

But Russia is now out of the picture, according to Panlilio, as the Russian Basketball Federation under former NBA player Andrei Kirilenko could only offer Gilas just a single tune-up game.

“It fell through (Russian training camp) since its only one game that they are committing to us,” said Panlilio, who presided the presser that preceded the board meeting along with Commissioner Willie Marcial, board vice chairman Richard Bachmann, and treasurer Raymond Zorrilla.

The national team was supposed to play two games in Khabarovsk, Russia before proceeding to Foshan China for the FIBA World Cup proper.

Meanwhile, the recent Game 7 between San Miguel Beer and Magnolia for the Philippine Cup championship earned a high 4.8 percent ratings over Sports5 or a total of 2.1 million viewers.

It was the highest TV rating for the league since the 2017 season.

According to Sports5 Chief to the board Patricia Hizon, the average time spent by viewers during Game 7 held last May 15 was 57 minutes or more than double the average time spent for the All-Filipino Conference which was 22 minutes.

Likewise, the record- breaking concurrent viewers on Sports5’s YouTube channel is also the highest ever.