GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes expressed satisfaction with the progress the Nationals have made in their 16-day European buildup in Estonia and Lithuania.

The Pinoy cagers logged a 3-3 record overall in their tuneup games in the Baltic States, improving by the day and closing out the trip with a 125-102 rout of Lithuania’s World University Games-bound squad Saturday.

“What’s truly impressive was the effort of the players, the effort to defend and dive for loose balls but also the effort to play together and I think it was very, very important,” said Mr. Reyes.

“And like we said, the defense that we had from Game 1 (last June 28) to Game 6 today (Saturday) was really already night and day so all the work that we put in on perfecting our defense is starting to show,” he said. That’s not saying FIBA World Cup-gearing Gilas is good to go, though.

“We know there’s still a lot of work to be done. We’re still a work in progress but I must admit I’m pretty satisfied with our (last) game,” said Mr. Reyes.

Although game conditioning has generally improved, health issues continue to bother the pool as it sets the next phase of the build up back home.

According to Mr. Reyes, Scottie Thompson (hand) and Dwight Ramos (knee) have to be tested and evaluated further.

“First order of business (after the Euro camp) is recovery. They have to rest and then we have to sit down with the coaching staff to take a look at the official medical prognosis of Scottie’s injury and Dwight’s as well because these are very important in the decision that we have to make when we get back to Manila,” he said.

“After a few days, (we) go back to practicing in Manila and focus on trying to stay sharp. That’s the important thing as we continue to grow and develop from the lessons that we learned here (Europe) and improve and then prepare tough games in our China series against full national teams,” he added. — Olmin Leyba