Reyes, PH team to embark on ‘biggest challenge’ yet in FIBA-Asia


Chot Reyes. PBA IMAGE/ Nuki Sabio

MANILA, Philippines—There’s no denying the immense pressure riding heavily on the shoulders of the country’s men’s basketball team aiming to reclaim its glory in the Asian basketball scene.

And Chot Reyes, the national team coach, knows it well.

“The way to handle the pressure is to acknowledge that it’s there. We cannot deny it. We have to acknowledge it so that we can embrace it,” Reyes said.

“I don’t think there is any bigger pressure than what we put on ourselves and I don’t think anybody is going to pressure us as much as these teams on the table,” Reyes added, referring to fellow FIBA-Asia Championship contenders Kazakhstan, China, Iran and Jordan during a press conference Tuesday.

The Nationals, who will bank on naturalized center Marcus Douthit, spy guards LA Tenorio and Jayson Castro and outside snipers Gary David and Jeff Chan, seek to secure one of the three slots for next year’s World Cup of basketball in Spain a feat the Philippines hasn’t accomplished since 1978.

And with Asian giants China and Iran, along with South Korea, the Philippines, which hosts the biggest cage meet in the region for the first time in 40 years, will definitely be pushed to its limits.

“It’s hard. There are a lot of expectations playing in our home court but I’d rather be playing at home than anywhere else so that’s just something we really need to embrace. The bigger pressure is really going to come from these teams,” said Reyes. “This is the biggest challenge of our professional lives. Every man on the team. Because it’s being played here, this is a different kind of challenge.”

“Senator Jaworski when he visited practice last night, he gave us very good words of wisdom and he said ‘embrace the privilege of playing for the national team’ and it is a privilege and ‘go out and have fun. Enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.'”

“And I think that’s going to be the mindset that we have to bring in to this group. We know it’s going to be very very hard but we still have to find out a way to enjoy this experience because it’s a once in a lifetime event.”

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  • taga_labas

    Good luck and have fun!

  • PitongGatang

    I already have my ticket see you tomorrow Gilas Pilipinas! Make your home town proud!

  • Funtronics

    1973 pa pala tayo huling nanalo sa FIBA Asia. Sana this time makuha natin yung championship.

  • Julie Castañeda

    Keep your head up high! Wag masyadong pessimist. Pessimist never won any battle! Right! Good luck Gilas Pilipinas!

  • Alfie Anido

    Tsk, Tsk. More than 20 years na akong umaasa at nagtsi-cheer sa national team natin, lagi na lang bigo. 1st time ko humagulgol para sa isang basketball game nuong 2002 when Olsen Racela bungled his freethrows. I have come to realize and accept that we cannot win this game. Pang SEA games na lang tayo kung saan mga taga Indonesia, Malaysia at Thailand na lang ang kaya nating talunin. Much as I loathe to admit, Chot Reyes is not the coach to lead this team to a FIBA victory. SEA games yes.

    • Common_Good143

      On a friendly note, I guess you NEED AND MUST WANT to see him drill his players. Our brand of basketball in the country NEEDS more FOCUS and COMMITMENT. I do believe that the Gilas Team players do have both. A long-term basketball program in order to succeed needs somebody with all the time to commit and be PASSIONATE about that commitment. Well, Coach Chot has somehow demonstrated the brand of coaching our national basketball team needs. I do believe Coach Chot has assembled the best shooting team in the land. I know that they are prepared to perform better on the defensive end.

    • RedvD

      Yes, Olsen’s miss was really, really sad, I can remember that game against Korea. But I think this year we have a legit chance to finish in the Top 3. Don’t know if that is enough to let us join the FIBA worlds

    • sanjuan683

      Eh kung manalo ang FIBA, eh di pahiya ka, manghihiram ka ng mukha sa unggoy. hahahaha

      • Alfie Anido

        hahhaha, jock sniffing nerd

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