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Gilas U-19 draws inspiration from Jimmy Alapag-led Gilas squad

by Jim Lemuel Wilson, June 14, 2019 3:28pm

Gilas Pilipinas Under-19 head coach Sandy Arespacochaga and the rest of the squad is drawing inspiration from the Gilas Pilipinas squad that won a game against Senegal in the 2014 World Cup as the young squad prepares for face a huge challenge of their own later in a few weeks’ time.

The Gilas Pilipinas Youth team is bracketed in Group C of the competition. They will play against the host team Greece on June 29, Argentina on June 30, and Russia on July 2. The county is a huge underdog once more, but they will be out to catch some big fish.

“Sila Jimmy Alapag, Larry Fonacier, Ranidel de Ocampo, Marc Pingris, pinakita na sa atin yan, na kaya nating lumaban. At the end of the day, kung anumang mangyari, ‘di ba parang nanalo tayo dun sa World Cup kahit isang game lang pinanalo natin e,” Arespacochaga said in a phone interview with Courtside Philippines.

The head coach is referring to the squad mentored by Chot Reyes who beat Senegal, 83-81, in the 2014 edition of the World Cup of Basketball.

“They really serve as an inspiration for us,” Arespacochago added.

With that inspiration, the team led by Kai Sotto and AJ Edu has been exerting extra effort in practice as the competition draws near.

“Almost every day na kami, we’re just off on Mondays and Thursdays, so five times a week. Medyo ramped up na yan because most of our players actually also have school teams and they also have practices for games with their school teams,” Arespachochaga said.

“So imagine yung sacrifice ng mga players natin na nagpa-practice sila twice a day. So I cannot commend the players enough, and I cannot thank the coaches of the different schools of our players. Kasi talagang malaki ang cooperation nila sa atin,” he shared.

Arespacochago also asked for support for the upcoming tournament.

“Siyempre as much as possible, we would like to have as many people pray for us. We need the prayers, and of course the supprot,” Arespacochage said.

“I think given na yan sa Pilipino e. Kahit kalaban natin Greece, homecourt yan, pupusta ako na may mga Pilipino jan na makakasingit, manunuod, at susuporta sa atin. So as long as may mga Pilipino na manunuod at magchi-cheer para atin, kahit isa lang yan o dalawa, yung lang enough na yon for us. Because we believe na even if only on Filipino will watch, nire-represent niya yung country.”

Filipinos in the Middle East will have a chance to show their support as the team will leave for Doha, Qatar on June 27 to set up a training camp and play some tune-up games before proceeding to Greece.

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