Cramming Gilas out to ‘shock the world,’ says Reyes
Finally getting a complete team on Monday, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes could only express glee seeing his 12-man roster for the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup all on the court at the same time.
“Of course, I’m very happy. It’s not just Calvin (Abueva), but everyone came here for the first time and it’s the first time we got all 12 guys for the Fiba Asia team,” he said.
Conspicuously absent for the first four sessions, the energetic Abueva, who was reportedly dealing with some “personal issues,” finally showed up on Monday evening at Meralco Gym.
BACKSTORY: Reyes issues ultimatum on absent Abueva
Still, the team’s completion is just half of the battle as Reyes seeks to form a cohesive unit before Gilas flies for Beirut, Lebanon on August 6.
“I really like what I’m seeing, but the problem is we don’t have that much time. We’re like cramming for the exams. We are trying to put everything in just one or two days and we all know on Wednesday and on Friday, there will be PBA games. So we are just taking advantage of what we have,” he said.
Reyes is well aware of the deficiencies the national team is facing, from the absence of naturalized big man Andray Blatche, the team’s limited preparation time for the international tourneys, to the fluctuating attendance for his sessions.
But despite all of those, Reyes is keeping his positivity on a high as he hopes that this chip on the team’s shoulder could motivate the squad to aspire for greatness and overachieve against fellow Asian contenders.
“There’s a lot of people who are saying that we won’t go very far, especially with Andray Blatche not here. Everyone knows that Andray won’t be here. Everyone knows that we are not getting enough practices. All the other teams like China and Australia are playing tuneup games against each other. Qatar and Iraq are getting a lot of practice and tuneup games. We are not getting even enough practice and we have already accepted the fact that we will not get enough practices but that has always been the case,” he said.
“So, we have to have the mentality of being brash and aggressive and the belief that we will shock the world. We are not going to enter the tournament as favorites, but we want to be able to shock them.”
The 2017 Fiba Asia Cup is slated on August 8 to 20 in Lebanon, with the Philippines gunning to finally nab the gold after bagging the silver medals in the past two offings of the tourney. IDL
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.