Chot Reyes welcomes lessened workload possibility
The plan to give Chot Reyes a single task—preferably handling the national team—has gained a key supporter: Chot Reyes.
“It is very welcome,” the Gilas Pilipinas program director and national coach told the Inquirer late Wednesday evening.
The reaction came on the heels of the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) announcement that it plans to ease the workload of Reyes, who is also the concurrent coach of the TNT Tropang Giga in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
“It’s a jam-packed calendar next year, and to your point, even beyond the World Cup, [we have] the Asian Games. So technically, Chot will be up to his head the whole year—and that’s just the national team program,” SBP president Al Panlilio said on Wednesday.
And after splitting time with the national team and TNT this year, Reyes feels there is a need to reevaluate his roles.
“I think for now, with the [TNT and Gilas] schedule [considered], that is something I really have to consider,” he said. “It’s going to be a decision that we will make collegially, so we have to sit down and talk it through.”
It’s not the first time that the plan has been brought up.
“We want to be able to do justice to all parties, like Gilas, without sacrificing a team,” Reyes said. “But with what happened this conference [to the Tropang Giga], of course, that plan is again being tackled by top management.”
TNT was eliminated from the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup.
Reyes could end up calling the shots for Gilas full-time, as he did back in 2012, when he led the Philippines to a milestone first victory in the World Cup.
Reyes was plucked from retirement to lead TNT back to championship glory, which immediately translated into results. The Tropang Giga, with Reyes on the saddle, won 10 of their 11 elimination games of the Philippine Cup and then went on to beat all of San Miguel group teams to win the crown jewel of the PBA.
But when wearing two hats, Reyes has rarely produced desired results.
The most accurate picture of that was during the last Philippine Cup Finals, where the defending champions battled fellow flagship team San Miguel Beer in a best-of-seven series last August.
Reyes had to coach Gilas Pilipinas and missed two games—which resulted in losses for the Tropang Giga. He then contracted COVID-19 keeping him from coaching in a do-or-die finalé, ultimately contributing to the end of the club’s reign.
According to the league’s stats chief Fidel Mangonon III, Reyes racked up 155 wins from 242 games in his first stint with the team (2008-2012). That’s a winning percentage of 64 percent, the best mark by any coach in the club’s history. In that stretch, the team won four PBA titles and a close shave with a Grand Slam in 2011.
Such success lends a valid argument to the SBP’s plan.
“I know [management is] really going out of their way to find out how to alleviate [my] load,” Reyes said.