Chot Reyes wary of Gilas' Fiba World Cup foe Italy | Inquirer Sports

Chot Reyes wary of Gilas’ Fiba World Cup foe Italy

/ 04:52 PM August 15, 2023

Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes.

Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes. –FIBA BASKETBALL

MANILA, Philippines—Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes is aware of the strides Fiba World Cup rival Italy has been making in its preparatory games, and he’s just glad the Philippines will face The Blues later in the tournament.

“Italy is Italy. We all know the quality of that team, right?” Reyes told reporters on Tuesday afternoon during a partnership launch between Max’s and the national team in Diliman, Quezon City.

“Fortunately, they are our third game. So, right now, our concern is the Dominican Republic … our focus, really, is the Dominican Republic and Angola,” he went on.


Gilas plays the Dominicans on August 25. The Nationals will then shift their focus on Angola before wrapping up their group phase campaign against the World No. 10 Italians, who have been living up to their lofty ranking.

The Blues have been perfect thus far in their preparatory games, racking up five victories that include impressive outings over Serbia, Greece, and Asian powerhouse China.

“A lot of our efforts are really poured into preparing for the Dominican Republic and Angola,” Reyes said, sort of echoing SBP president Al Panlilio’s pronouncements during the PSA Forum earlier in the day.

“We want to really perform at the very best,” the chief of the national federation said. “My gut feel is we can. We’ll try. I hope we can win at least two games. We did not win anything in [China]. Hopefully, we can win two games.”

Simone Fontecchio

Simone Fontecchio #16 of the Utah Jazz celebrates after defeating the Golden State Warriors at Vivint Arena on December 07, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Alex Goodlett/Getty Images/AFP

Despite facing tall odds, Reyes assured the Gilas brain trust has begun tediously plotting for the Italians, who will be bannered by Simone Fontecchio—Jordan Clarkson’s Utah Jazz teammate.

“We saw that they released their final 12 yesterday, so we’re already in the process of compiling and breaking down the individual profiles of those [players],” he said.


“We know a lot about those players—Luigi Datome, Nicolo Melli, and of course Fontecchio, who plays in the NBA. That’s a very strong team [and] that’s something we obviously have to take a good, hard, long look at.”

The top two teams of each group will advance to the next round of the World Cup. Aside from the ultimate winner, the finest nation of each continent will be awarded a ticket to the Olympic Games in Paris, France, next year.


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TAGS: Fiba World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas, Italy

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