Latest Gilas pool ‘young, balanced, versatile,’ says Reyes
With Gilas Pilipinas’ sight set on the 2019 Fiba World Cup, coach Chot Reyes feels he has the right pieces to form a team that’s built to win when the time comes.
“We have a very clear picture of the kind of game that we want to play. We wanted the best players that can execute and implement that kind of game,” Reyes told reporters in a press conference Sunday at Philsports Arena in Pasig.
“We took a look at 2019 [Fiba World Cup] and our target is 2019. We chose, for now, to get players who will be at the peak of their careers in three years time.”
Reyes bared the 12 PBA players who completed the 24-man national team pool with veterans June Mar Fajardo, Jayson Castro, Calvin Abueva, and Terrence Romeo bannering the latest additions.
“It’s a very young, balanced, and versatile team and it’s an amalgamation of everything we want the system to be run,” said Reyes.
“Now, our issue will be the same with what we had before, which is making them come together and making them a team. We like combination of their youth and veteran smarts. It’s a good mix and it’s possibly the tallest group of players that we can assemble. I really like its composition.”
Reyes convened with his coaching staff composed of Jong Uichico, Josh Reyes, Jimmy Alapag, and consultant Tab Baldwin, before making the decision on who among the players Gilas will tap from the PBA ballclubs.
Under the agreement signed with the PBA, the rookies who entered through the Gilas draft will be called up two months before the tournament, with the PBA picks reporting to practice a month before.
Though Reyes already has the big picture in mind, he knows that getting there won’t be an easy one, and he remains focused on the team’s first challenge which is the 2017 Seaba Championship.
“We need to win the Seaba to be able to play in Fiba Asia. We fully intend to bring strongest team for the Seaba. We’re focused on it and we don’t want to overlook it. That’s our entire focus first,” he said.
“We all know that our Southeast Asian neighbors have already caught up. We used to send college players and they’re going up against pros. But now that we know that our neighbors are improving, we have to bring our best. It’s no longer the sureball it once was.”