Chot Reyes acknowledges fans’ worries amid Gilas manpower crisis
MANILA, Philippines–National coach Chot Reyes made it clear that the worries about Gilas Pilipinas’ redemption campaign in the Southeast Asian Games are warranted.
But there are realities that the national cage program simply could not control, he said.
“It’s just right that they worry, because [our situation is] really worrisome,” Reyes said. “I wish there’s something we could do about it but there’s nothing.”
“There’s nothing we could do about injuries, there’s nothing we could do about the personal circumstances of each player, right? There’s nothing we could do about, the PBA Finals that just ended last week,” he added.
A number of top-flight talents have begged off and been ruled out for the basketball competition slated to unfurl May 9 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. And several others have been deemed questionable.
Jamie Malonzo and Mikey Williams have opted out due to personal reasons. June Mar Fajardo and Roger Pogoy, two members of the ill-fated crew that lost the gold medal in Hanoi last year, are being shelved for health reasons. And so is Poy Erram.
Stanley Pringle and Japeth Aguilar are far from a hundred percent while Scottie Thompson is expecting his first-born about the same time as the tournament.
That leaves Gilas Pilipinas with just a handful of players who recently served the program and are truly familiar with Reyes’ system and schemes: Justin Brownlee, Calvin Oftana, CJ Perez, Chris Newsome, and Mason Amos. Then there are some who have also suited up several years ago: Christian Standhardinger, Chris Ross, and Marcio Lassiter.
Outside that bunch are newcomers Aaron Black and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and varsity standouts like Ben and Michael Phillips.
“We just have to focus really now on preparing this team. We have our eyes wide open that there are a lot of players who are not here but like I’ve said, there’s nothing we could do about that. Let’s not worry about who’s not here but focus on those who are here,” Reyes said.
Gilas, bracketed with Malaysia, Singapore and the hosts in the group phase, plans to crank up its preparations this Sunday when it sets up camp at Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba.
The Nationals leave for the Cambodian capital on May 6, according to Reyes.