Chot Reyes wants three Gilas goals taken care of before Europe | Inquirer Sports

Chot Reyes wants three Gilas goals taken care of before Europe

/ 04:30 AM June 14, 2023

Philippines’s coach Vincent “Chot” Reyes gestures from the sidelines during the men’s basketball final against Cambodia at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Phnom Penh on May 16, 2023. (Photo by MOHD RASFAN / AFP)

With less than half of its original 21-man pool attending, Gilas Pilipinas’ return to its Fiba World Cup preparations on Monday night was underwhelming, to say the least.

National coach Chot Reyes tried to put a comical spin on the situation at Meralco Gym, telling reporters who were covering the team outnumbered the players.


Turning serious, Reyes said that the program is trying to stay positive, as they take aim at three goals they hope to accomplish by the end of this leg of the buildup.


“Three things for this week: People have to get into game shape because a lot of these guys are coming off a break,” he said. “[The PBA], Japan and Korea guys are coming from breaks, so we’ve started some conditioning already, that’s No. 1.

“No. 2 is for those injured to recover and make sure they’re healthy for the Inspire camp. And No. 3 is we wanted to assimilate both Rhenz [Abando] and AJ [Edu] with what we’re doing. The others already know, basically, the stuff we’re doing, but we want to fast-track [their] assimilation.”

Counting Monday’s light session, Gilas will be spending a total of four days at its old stomping grounds before moving to Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna province, from June 17 to 20.

‘Cause for concern’

Gilas huddled one last time at Meralco Gym in Pasig City on Saturday, before its flight for Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where it will try to reclaim the gold medal in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

FILE–Gilas huddles at Meralco Gym. –Denison Rey Dalupang/PDI

The 10 players present that night were two-time Fiba World Cup veterans June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar, brothers Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, Ange Kouame, Chris Newsome, Poy Erram, CJ Perez, Abando and Edu.

Reyes admitted the shortage in manpower “is a cause for concern,” but offered that it is simply the reality that comes with players’ health.

“The reality is injuries are a part of it [all], and the other guys have, I guess, extended stays when they went back to the United States. As usual, we just have to make do with the cards that were dealt to us,” he said.


Justin Brownlee, Jamie Malonzo, Dwight Ramos and Jordan Heading have yet to get back in town, Roger Pogoy, Ray Parks Jr., and Calvin Oftana are all nursing injuries, while Scottie Thompson is recuperating from a bout with fever, according to Reyes.

So far, only Carl Tamayo has officially begged off from the World Cup preparations. The former University of the Philippines star, who is coming off his first pro stint in Japan, told Gilas management that he “does not think he’s going to be healthy to go through the entire process” due to a knee issue.

Gilas’ arsenal is now a versatile forward short with the 6-foot-8 Tamayo out, but Reyes pointed out that there’s “no hard and fast number for the pool.

“We can always add guys or subtract guys from the pool. But the question, right now, is that we’re preparing for Lithuania. So I don’t think there’s enough time to get somebody in, get his visa—and all of that—for Lithuania. But that’s why we’ve got a pool, precisely because of [such] things.”

Commitment needed

Reyes also doubled down that the players in the pool have since been told of the foremost condition of being able to suit up for the World Cup.

“The players understand the mission. We made it very clear that the No. 1 requirement for this is commitment—that they’re willing to come here even without the assurance that they’re going to make the final lineup; to go through [all] that.”

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Whether the Gilas leadership actually tweaks its talent pool remains to be seen. For now, the program is zeroing in on a European tour where it looks to further test players such as Abando and Edu.

Gilas is scheduled to leave for Estonia on June 22 and then fly to Lithuania on July 1 for a series of tune-up games to prepare for the global showcase that the Philippines will be cohosting with Japan and Indonesia beginning Aug. 25.


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TAGS: Chot Reyes, Fiba World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas

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