DIGOS, Davao del Sur—Chot Reyes, the Gilas-Pilipinas coach, got to handle all the Philippine team prospects in the national pool for the first time on Friday and was so impressed by the attitude of his PBA superstars.
“They are all relishing this (PBA All-Star Week) because this is the first time that they will be playing together,” Reyes told scribes over breakfast yesterday. “As a matter of fact, I had to hold them back in practice because they were all playing all out.
“That’s what happens when elite athletes get together, they play their hearts out.”
Jimmy Alapag, the former PBA MVP, suffered a strained right ankle during practice, forcing Reyes to sit him out in last night’s All-Star Game at Davao del Sur Coliseum here.
“These players are playing with a sense of urgency,” Reyes said. “They know that Iran and the other Middle Eastern teams are already in deep preparations. As for us, we’re not late. We’re very late. We can only start on June 1, two months (before the tournament). Hopefully, that’s enough.”
The Fiba Asia joust will be held from Aug. 1 to 11 at Mall of Asia Arena where the top three placers will represent Asia in the World Basketball Championship in Madrid next year.
Reyes had initially named 17 men to the pool but lost two—Kelly Williams and Jared Dillinger—to injuries.
The firebrand mentor said he will go with the 15 that he has, together with naturalized center Marcus Douthit.