Smart Gilas Pilipinas quint could have done better, says Chot ReyesBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TOKYO—Chot Reyes is satisfied with how Smart Gilas-Pilipinas fared in its first two international tournaments, but like any other perfectionist, the firebrand coach said the all-pro squad could have done better.
“Before this whole thing started, if someone said we’ll have one first (place) and one fourth (place finish), we’ll be happy,” Reyes said Sunday, moments before boarding a Philippine Airlines flight back to Manila.
“Kaya lang, ngayon, nalulungkot tayo (But we can’t help but feel sad). We all know we could have done better.”
The Filipinos were in contention right until the penultimate day when their guns suddenly misfired in bowing to eventual champion Iran. In the battle for third place against Qatar, Team Philippines’ outside shooting misfortunes continued.
“But then again, we have to remember that it’s just the second tournament of the team,” Reyes said. “Marami pang igagaling ang team na ito (This team will definitely get better).”
Reyes said he will evaluate the composition of the squad and seek the help of the PBA to, if possible, adopt the travelling rule and the Fiba-standard rims being used in international tournaments so that the Philippine team could get used to them.
“If we don’t make outside shots against the big teams, we’ll have a hard time winning,” the national mentor said of the Fiba rims, which are thicker and sturdier than the ones the Filipino pros are used to playing in the PBA.
He would also sit down with the PBA for a more definite commitment.
Reyes did not question the heart of the squad but said that several players who helped win the Jones Cup would have to go so he could plug the holes, most especially the ones in the middle.
“A backup to Marcus (Douthit) and a backup to Ranidel (De Ocampo),” he said when asked of the missing ingredient. “Hopefully, we get a (Greg) Slaughter or a (JunMar) Fajardo and then Kelly (Williams), Arwind (Santos) and (Marc) Pingris.
“They are the ones who are really in the pool,” he continued. “And we need to see Jason (Castro) playing. He needs to be tested, like we tested Jared (Dillinger), who played well.”
After getting together fully in the first week of August, Smart Gilas-Pilipinas won the Jones Cup in style and came to this Japanese capital as one of the favorites.
At around this time again next year, Reyes hopes that he would have the full complement of players that would not only help defend the Jones Cup in Taipei, but also pull off the squad’s real mission in Beirut.