Chot says young Gilas getting ‘great learning experience’ in Fiba Asia Cup
MANILA, Philippines — Despite losing their first 2022 Fiba Asia Cup game to Lebanon, Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes believes his young team is still learning and developing to compete against the top teams in the continent.
The national team coach was still convinced with the Philippines’ last-ditch effort in the fourth quarter in its 85-90 loss to Lebanon to open its Group D campaign on Wednesday in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“For us, it’s a great learning experience. We have a very young team here, and for them to be able to experience this kind of very high-level competition, I think that’s the most important thing,” said Reyes.
Carl Tamayo and SJ Belangel sparked a late fourth quarter run to turn a 22-point deficit into nine. But the Lebanese displayed grace under pressure.
Reyes admitted Lebanon’s efficient 9-of-18 three-point shoting proved to be a headache for Gilas, which also committed 16 turnovers that easily handed 21 points to its foe.
“The spread, the buffer that they got in the third quarter when they were hitting all those three-point shots was just too much for us to overcome,” he said. “So I think that was the story, plus our turnovers. We gave them 21 points off turnovers. If we’re able to cut that down, then it would have been a much closer ball game.”
The Gilas Pilipinas program director is putting premium on his young wards’ development in the prestigious Asian tournament, especially big men Tamayo, Kevin Quiambao, and Geo Chiu.
“It’s a learning experience for our bigs… So like I said, continuous development, continuous learning. I mean, what do we have? Our power forwards, Carl Tamayo and Kevin Quiambao have played a grand total of one year in college. So, this is a huge, huge experience for them. And Geo Chiu isn’t even the starter in his own collegiate team,” Reyes said. “(I’m) very pleased with their progress and their ability to fight it out. Sure, the Lebanese players were really very skilled, but that’s the only way to learn, right? To play against superior talent.”
Gilas tries to regain its winning ways on Friday against India in a must-win game to remain in contention for the knockout stage.
“This is going to be continuous development for them. Ray-Ray (Parks) is pretty used to it because he’s playing overseas. But for the others, that’s going to be a huge challenge,” Reyes said.