The Olympic qualifiers are only about 20 days away and according to the schedule, the 14 member team is off to a European tour to get some much needed practice to hone their skills before the tenacious tournament kicks off on 5th July 2016.
It is a normal practice to expose the newly selected contingent to different tourneys and teams so that they can be fit and play as a cohesive unit before the big event.
This way, their game gets polished and swift due to regular, coordinated playing, understanding the skills and moves of their teammates and adapting their own game to studying and complementing each other’s game.
It is often seen that players need to practice multiple times a day, only then can they develop a semblance of coordination and gel as a forceful team. This was the considered opinion of none other than their Jim Olmedo “Jimmy” Alapag who in spite of not being in the national team is almost considered as if he were still the Captain of the Gilas Pilipinas.
In fact it is two years since he donned the Pilipina blues. The 38 year old former international was of the opinion that playing together did improve the cohesion between the playing members but there was more to these training camps and practice matches than just improving the game.
He opined that apart from the aspect of playing the game better, the daily practice sessions also lead to a better understanding of your teammates, their game as well as their approach and philosophy about the game as well as personalities.
The importance of these training camps was emphasized by the former captain of the Gilas Pilipinas since there was not enough time to provide a long camp for preparation; he also mentioned the rigorous schedule which was to be adopted to make the players reach the peak of their fitness; there had to be two or three sessions of practice daily on most days.
It was also a very unique experience for the newer players since they not only get to visit other countries and states, the whole trip is a fantastic learning experience; this also provides them a chance of meeting senior players including some stalwarts who can guide the newcomers on the finer points of the game.
The Filipino team is currently in Greece (at Kapernisi) in the first leg of their tour of Europe where it will be playing friendly matches; this is the first leg of their tour which will last totally for 18 days and takes them to Turkey and Italy too.
After the Greece leg, the Gilas Pilipinas are slated to go to Turkey for a friendly game against the Turkish team as part of their itinerary.
Then, they will move to Bologna, Italy where they will be getting good practice since there is going to be a tournament that includes Italy, China and Canada.
Umrao Singh Umraoz.wordpress.com
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson www.thephilippinepride.com