Chot Reyes could be the next Smart Gilas coach
MANILA, Philippines—With Serbian coach Rajko Toroman now out of the equation, the next Smart Gilas Pilipinas head coach will come from the pool of high-profile local mentors.
Sources said Talk ‘N Text coach Chot Reyes has the inside track, but Smart Gilas operations manager Butch Antonio played it coy, saying the national team program would take off with a meeting of the minds among the four coaches in the select group.
Apart from Reyes, who recently steered the Tropang Texters to the PBA Philippine Cup crown, the other candidates are multititled PBA coaches Norman Black, Jong Uichico and Ryan Gregorio.
“We already told coach Rajko that he won’t be rehired as Smart Gilas head coach,” said Antonio.
Toroman, who steered the PH five to a fourth-place performance in the Fiba Asia Championship in Wuhan, China, last year, came to Manila last week to pick up the things he left behind in his apartment and went back to Belgade in a huff.
Antonio said there’s a need to sit down with the coaches during the ongoing 12-day PBA break before the league resumes with the import-flavored Commissioner’s Cup on Feb. 10.
“There’s no fixed date on the meeting but we have to schedule it at once,” said Antonio. “The agenda will be to establish the framework of the program from the candidates to training to tournament schedules.”
Antonio earlier hinted that the core of Smart Gilas would come from Sinag Pilipinas, a talented bunch composed mostly of collegiate players who captured the gold medal in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia.
Reyes, who has eight PBA titles in a tie for fourth with Uichico, has become a strong contender for the coaching portfolio after sitting as a Toroman assistant in the failed mission to nail an Olympic slot in London last year.
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