Reyes looking to slot in Belo for Cruz in SEA Games roster
Mac Belo could get a crack at a third gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games next month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Philippine team coach Chot Reyes is looking at the possibility of tapping Belo as a replacement for Carl Bryan Cruz due to a scheduling conflict with the Fiba Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon also slated in August.
“We could [change the lineup], but it’s no guarantee because that will be determined in the team managers’ meeting the night before,” Reyes said in a press conference Saturday at Sky Bar in Marco Polo Ortigas in Pasig City.
“So there has to be a very good reason and a very good excuse so that’s going to depend on boss Butch Antonio, but our intent is to have Mac Belo in the place of CBC (Cruz) in the Southeast Asian Games lineup primarily because there’s a chance that he’s not going to make it in Kuala Lumpur,” Reyes added.
Cruz is also part of Gilas Pilipinas’ roster in the Fiba Asia Cup, which is set on Aug. 8-20. The Filipinos’ SEA Games campaign opens on Aug. 20 against Thailand, a team which Reyes still sees as a “strong force to reckon with in Southeast Asia”
Fil-German Christian Standhardinger, who is the team’s naturalized player in place of Andray Blatche, could also miss the tiff against Thailand due to the same conflict.
Sonny Barrios, the executive director of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, said changing lineups in the SEA Games is not an easy process.
“Changing the lineup in the Southeast Asian Games is not simple even if you want to change,” he said. “It’s discretionary on the part of the organizers in the Southeast Asian Games. Even if you want to change and even if the player is really injured, if they won’t allow it, they won’t allow it and that’s the iffy part about it.”