FIBA World Cup Preparations: Gilas training camp in Estonia

FIBA Fever: Checkpoint — How Are World Cup Preps So Far?

Filipino basketball fans are eager for the first tip-off of the FIBA World Cup. While we wait in anticipation, let’s review some of the highlights so far!

With a little over 50 days away from The Philippines’ historic hosting of the FIBA World Cup, let’s take a moment to stop at this quick checkpoint and see how the preps are going so far.

April 29, The Draw

Preparations started with a bang as The Philippines, being the main host out of 3 countries, welcomed the basketball world during the much-awaited draw event held at the historic Araneta Coliseum.

While the qualified teams and the fans worldwide were excited to find out the official matchups, Filipino fans were just a wee bit more excited as the giants of the basketball world came to our shores.

FIBA World Cup Draw: Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki poses with the FIBA World Cup Trophy, an award that has eluded his decorated basketball career. (Photo credit: Vyn Radovan)
FIBA World Cup Draw: Catriona Gray
First time FIBA Ambassador Catriona Gray. (Photo credit: Vyn Radovan)
FIBA World Cup Draw
Gilas Pilipinas stalwarts Jeff Chan and June Mar Fajardo. (Photo credit: Vyn Radovan)
FIBA World Cup Draw:
Volleyball stars Alyssa Valdez and Michelle Gumabao also came out to be part of the historic event. (Photo credit: Vyn Radovan)
FIBA World Cup Draw:
Billy Crawford and Sarah Geronimo gave a performance seen on the world stage. (Photo credit: Vyn Radovan)
FIBA World Cup Draw
The host country showcased their world-class entertainment prowess. (Photo credit: Vyn Radovan)
FIBA World Cup Draw
Gretchen Ho and Ari Chambers co-hosted the highly anticipated FIBA World Cup Draw. (Photo credit: Vyn Radovan)
Saweetie gave her Pinoy fans a taste of her stage presence. (Photo credit: Vyn Radovan)
FIBA World Cup Draw
Luis Scola and Dirk Nowitzki are teammates this time around. (Photo credit: Vyn Radovan)
FIBA World Cup Draw
FIBA Ambassadors Catriona Gray and local basketball legend LA Tenorio. (Photo credit: Vyn Radovan)
June 7, 21-man pool announcement

It was an awfully quiet 39 days after the draw as far as FIBA World Cup preparations went. And the silence was broken at almost midnight by the official announcement of Gilas’ 21-man pool.

READ MORE: There’s a Lot to Like About the 21-Man Gilas Pool That Was Just Announced

Once again, people were abuzz. Fans left and right had their own opinions as to the roster that was made public. Some good, some bad. But ultimately, what it did is give the people a first glimpse into the possible composition of the team’s final 12 when the time comes.

The pool first came together in a very private closed-door session on the evening of the said night but didn’t officially hold practice until June 12.

June 21, Gilas flies abroad for training
Gilas training camp in Estonia 2023
Gilas Pilipinas team pool members start their training camp in Estonia. (Photo credit: SBP on Instagram)
Gilas training camp in Estonia 2023
Gilas Pilipinas team pool members start their training camp in Estonia. (Photo credit: SBP on Instagram)

Just a couple of weeks after the pool announcement, Gilas flew off to Estonia for a series of tune-up matches against various teams.

After some health concerns, Justin Brownlee was finally able to join the team for this leg of training.

From what we know, both Kai Sotto and Jordan Clarkson aren’t expected until 6 weeks prior to the games.

June 28, SBP invitational games

While the team trains abroad, preparations back home are also in full swing. Filipino hoops fans were treated to a pleasant surprise as top college teams from both the UAAP and the NCAA showcased their talents in a crossover matchup.

Those who watched the games live got to experience the FIBA flavor as the games were designed to simulate the flow of the actual matches when they happen.

SBP Invitational Games 2023
(Photo credit: SBP on Instagram)

School hymns were played in the beginning as that’s how it’s done for national anthems during FIBA games. Then it was followed by a team photo and an exchange of gifts between the players.

Perhaps what’s most notable here is the fact that renovations were being made. From what I was told, the Araneta Coliseum will be getting a major jumbotron upgrade outside of the current improvements to the lighting, and the back-of-the-house.

The Naismith Trophy
(Photo credit: SBP on Instagram)

All in all, preparations are in full swing. And with August 25 just around the corner, expect things to ramp up even more. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were at least a couple more of these SBP invitational games.

One thing is for sure, and that is that it’s only going to get more exciting from here.

Banner image from SBP on Facebook.

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