Chot Reyes likes Gilas’ chances in 2019 World Cup: ‘We have proven we can compete’
Former national team coach Chot Reyes feels confident about the Philippines’ chances to at least make the second round of the 2019 Fiba World Cup.
Reyes is well-acquainted with the World Cup competition having steered the country to its first win in the tournament in 40 years after Gilas Pilipinas edged Senegal in overtime five years ago in Spain.
“I’m very optimistic about our chances,” Reyes said on Wednesday.
“First of all, all the teams are tough. But at least there’s only one top 10 team in the world in our group unlike in 2014 when there were three top 10 teams in our group and we went side by side with them so that’s one,” he added.
The Philippines is in Group D with Italy, Angola, and Serbia. Reyes was referring to Serbia, which is ranked No. 4 in the world.
The Serbians also finished second in the 2014 World Cup after losing to the US in the gold medal match.
In 2014, Gilas was joined by world powers Greece, Croatia, and Argentina as well as a dangerous squad in Puerto Rico and Senegal in the same group.
Despite the overwhelming odds, Gilas nearly pulled off major upsets against Argentina and Croatia.
Reyes believes the Philippines can get it done this time.
“Angola, although, they’re a very strong team, is beatable the way we were able to beat Senegal before,” he said. “And Italy will be tough, but I don’t think they’re as strong as Argentina or Greece. I think we have a chance against Italy.”
“Serbia, admittedly, will be very, very tough. They’re like Croatia before during our time but then we took Croatia to overtime so you can’t really tell.”
Reyes is convinced Gilas can win two games in the first round and advance to the next.
“We have proven before that we can compete and with this team now, with the players that we have, with coach Yeng’s system, and with Andray Blatche in shape, there’s no reason for us not to improve on that previous one win in 2014 and I think if we get to two wins, that might be enough to get us to the next round.”
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