Chot Reyes believes Gilas due for best game yet vs China
CHANGSHA CITY, China – Chot Reyes, the coach of Gilas Pilipinas when it finished second to Iran in the Fiba Asia Championship two years ago in Manila, likes just where the Filipinos are – even if they are to shoot for the gold medal against a most formidable foe in China on Saturday night.
“We’ve not really played our best since the Iran game,” Reyes told the Inquirer while walking with basketball godfather Manny V. Pangilinan out of the Changsha Social Work College gym here.
“And for me, that’s a good sign.”
READ: ‘This is the greatest battle of our lives’—Pangilinan
The Philippines was the first to hand Iran a loss in the tournament, 87-73, before the Chinese dethroned the Iranians with a 70-57 victory in their Final Four match on Friday night, a win that came with so much ease that China is labeled as the overwhelming favorite in the 8:30 p.m. title game.
“There’s no way for the Philippine game to go but up,” Reyes, raising his right hand and pointing to the roof, said. “It’s somewhat of a trend.”
Since that scintillating win over Iran, the Filipinos struggled past Japan in earning top seeding in Group E.
READ: Gilas needs all luck it can get in Fiba Asia final vs China, says Iran’s Bahrami
But before that, the Filipinos’ game was at such a low that Palestine, a newcomer in the tournament, scored a 75-73 upset in the first day of the competition, a reversal that now ranks as one of the biggest in the modern age of Asian basketball.
On Thursday, Team Philippines looked a bit over-eager in an 82-70 win over Lebanon and was most vulnerable on Friday night, scraping past the Japanese, 81-70.
“We’re due to play our best again,” Reyes said.
An entire country sure hopes he’s right.