As Gilas Pilipinas heads to the FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament early next month, retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant gave a piece of advice to the Philippine national team — belief and hardwork.
Bryant, currently in town for the 2016 Mamba Mentality Manila Tour, stressed that both pointers go hand-in-hand for success to become a reality.
“My message of hope is first of all, they (Gilas players) have to have, like I said earlier, imagination is the most important, that’s where it starts, you need to have the belief, and secondly, it’s practice, it’s practice,” Bryant said during the group interview with select media men during the press conference of the Nike-sponsored Mamba Mentality Tour at the Shangrila Hotel – the Fort.
Bryant, who exploded for 60 points in the final game of his 20-year, NBA career last April, said believing without “working on your imagination” won’t mean anything.
“Everybody in the world can have hope all day, but the whole (world) having hope is absolutely meaningless if you don’t work to achieve so for them, the best advice I can give is to practice really, really hard, work together as a group and identify what your weaknesses are and work to make those your strengths,” added the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer. “If you can do that, you put yourself in a much much better chance to win.”
Gilas will kick off its FIBA OQT campaign against world no. 5 France on July 5, followed by New Zealand the next day. All FIBA OQt games will be played at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 18-time NBA All Star is a a 2-time Olympic gold medalist, having led the NBA players- bannered US men’s team to championships in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in Beijing and London, respectively.
Bryant owned averages of 14.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in FIBA competitions, dating back to the 2007 FIBA Americas championships. – By Richard Dy
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