Chot sorry for Gilas’ Fiba Asia exit, but says experience will make young team better
MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes apologized to the Filipino fans after missing the Fiba Asia Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 2007.
But he stressed that their stint in the continental showpiece was to give his young team an exposure
“Obviously the result is not what we wanted. We’re very sorry that we’ve disappointed a lot of our countrymen,” said Reyes after their 81-102 loss to Japan in a knockout game on Tuesday at Istora Senan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“We brought a very young team here and the experience is just going to make them better to be able to be exposed to the kind of intensity and level of play at the Asian Cup. There is not one player in the team who has ever been to Fiba Asia Cup, this is all their first time,” he added.
The national team coach, who also works as program director, said that he and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas have already put up a plan for the fourth window of the Fiba World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers in August until the country’s hosting of the world championship next year.
“We already had a plan in place for the next window. We’ve put the plan together already all the way till August next year, We just have to execute,” said Reyes.
The TNT coach has been under fire on social media ever since he was reappointed as Gilas head coach, replacing Tab Baldwin.
Gilas Pilipinas was looking to reach the top eight of the Asian Cup, coming off an underwhelming silver medal finish in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
But their goal was shattered by a vastly-improved Japan side, led by NBA player Yuta Watanabe, getting its first Fiba Asia tournament win over the Philippines since 2003.
“We wish we could get to the top eight but we weren’t able to get the job done. There’s very little to say. Japan came with a very good game plan,” Reyes said.
The Filipinos, bannered by mainstays Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena and young guns Carl Tamayo and Kevin Quiambao, earned one win in the tournament against India but yielded to Lebanon and New Zealand to finish third in Group D.
The Gilas coach reiterated that his team went through a tough stretch after losing naturalized center Ange Kouame due to a partial ACL tear and Dwight Ramos with shin splints, days before the Asia Cup opener.
“We’re operating under very difficult circumstances and a lot of restrictions. But we’re making do with what we have and in the end, that’s all we can do, to take what’s in front of us with what we have and just continue plugging in and plugging away,” he said. “Hopefully, just develop and get better for next year.”