Chot asks fans to give Kobe time: ‘He’s just 19’
TAIPEI – Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes knows talent when he sees one.
Safe to say, he also knows when and how to unleash that talent.
The firebrand mentor was appealing to a large Filipino gallery on Sunday night to hush down inside the final two minutes of a Team Philippines victory over Chinese Taipei as the crowd started chanting “Ko-be! Ko-be! Ko-be!”
All the way left to be played for was the outcome, and the crowd wanted to see the high-leaping 19-year-old do his stuff.
“I was trying to hush the crowd from chanting his name,” said Reyes, who nonetheless obliged by putting Paras in the fray with around 80 seconds remaining. “We don’t want to put undue pressure on Kobe. He’s 19.”
Reyes said that he appreciates how the Filipino fans follow Gilas wherever they play in the globe.
“That’s fantastic,” he said of the massive crowd support that practically gives the Filipinos homecourt edge anywhere. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but we need time with Kobe.”
Those last 80 seconds weren’t Kobe’s only moments on the floor, Reyes had used him earlier but the 6-foot-5 guard was a bit overeager and wound up scoreless in just under five minutes in total.
With Gilas to play Chinese Taipei’s Team B on Monday, Kobe will be ranged against players as young as he is, and this could be the game that Filipino fans could see the country’s newest toast in extended minutes.
Otherwise, Reyes knows what he’s doing and it’s certainly better being safe than sorry.
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