Gilas coach Chot Reyes says Cambodia is his ‘last’ SEA Games
Regardless of the result, national coach Chot Reyes was already sold on making the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia his last appearance in the biennial meet.
“Win or lose, this is my last Southeast Asian Games. I promised I’ll never coach here in the SEA Games anymore,” he told reporters in the din of the celebrations at Morodok Techo National Stadium, where Gilas Pilipinas sealed its return to the top of the men’s basketball competition with an 80-69 victory over the hosts.
“At least I was able to go out with a gold medal,” the concurrent Gilas program director added.
Reyes suggested that younger coaches are better suited to call the shots in the regional event as it should be a stomping ground for the Philippines’ developmental teams.
“I think the Southeast Asian Games is really for our developmental team. It really has to be our younger players who should be playing here,” he said. “I really think that is what this is for.”
Reyes, however, pointed out that such a decision ultimately rests on the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.
Last year, Reyes and a pro-heavy squad lost the gold medal to Indonesia which ended the Philippines’ 33-year reign in the competition.
The last time the Philippines missed out on a gold in the SEA Games was back in 1989, when Malaysia hosted the showcase. The National Team that saw action in that edition took home silver and was coached by Derrick Pumaren.
Between Derrick Pumarren and Reyes, other mentors who called the shots for Team Philippines were Francis Rodriguez, Rogelio Melencio, Joe Lipa, Dong Vergeire, Louie Alas, Boycie Zamar, Aric del Rosario, Junel Baculi, Norman Black, Jong Uichico, Tab Baldwin and Tim Cone, and each one of steered their respective squads to the gold.
Since Fiba’s 2005 ban on the Philippines, the powers-that-be has been sending amateurs and project players to the biennial meet. It was only in the 2019 edition of the meet held in Manila that pros were again tapped.
“I think for the good of Philippine basketball, I think we really should bring younger players here for the Southeast Asian Games,” said Reyes.
“Hopefully, in the future, we can get together earlier and put a team to compete in the next one in Thailand,” he added.