Chot: Gilas needs to get better for game down under
After Gilas Pilipinas got away with wins that looked far from pretty, coach Chot Reyes knows it highlighted how much work the team needs in the Fiba World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifying series.
The national team gets another three months to get it all done—whether it’s adjusting to the tournament’s new home-and-away format or making sure that naturalized player Andray Blatche stays fit for action.
“It’s simply a matter of them (players) getting used to it mentally and physically,” said Reyes.
Gilas struggled pulling off victories over Japan ( 77-71) last Friday in Tokyo and Chinese Taipei (90-83) Monday night in Manila in the first window of Group B action.
So despite the 2-0 start, Reyes expects things to get harder when the Philippines takes on powerhouse Australia in the second window on Feb. 22, 2018 in Adelaide.
“It’s going to be three months so there won’t be any kind of momentum that’s going to be built,” said Reyes. “But it armed us a lot of knowledge about ourselves. Hopefully, things to work on and learn.”
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chair emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan noted that Gilas’ three-week training, clearly, wasn’t enough.
“If we are going to get serious against Australia, we have got to give enough time for the team to jell,” said Pangilinan.
Part of that preparation should be getting Blatche on board early, said Reyes, as the 31-year-old got criticized for his sluggish showing.
“The key is to get him to practice more than five days,” said Reyes, after Blatche flew in late due to commitments in China. “We can’t teach everything in five days. Or you might be able to teach everything, but to actually practice it, run it, make it instinct, you can’t get that in five days.”
Blatche had a measly six points on a 2-of-9 shooting plus six turnovers against Taipei, but had 14 rebounds and five blocks. Reyes got a big boost, however, from June Mar Fajardo’s 17 points off the bench on top of eight rebounds, two assists and a couple of blocks.