Rhenz Abando on Chot Reyes boos: No time for blame, everyone makes mistakes
Rhenz Abando and Kiefer Ravena continue to stand by Chot Reyes after the home crowd jeered the Gilas Pilipinas coach in their 90-83 loss to Italy in the Fiba World Cup 2023 on Tuesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Hindi natin time para sisihin ang kung sino man. Tao lang rin, nagkakamali. Dapat pinaglalaban niyo ang bansa natin, pinaglalaban namin. So dapat, sinusuportahan niyo pa rin siya kasi may nagkakamali rin talaga,” Abando told reporters after scoring eight points, two rebounds, and a highlight block.
(It’s not the time to blame anyone. We’re humans. We make mistakes. We should fight for our country. We fight [for our country]. So we should support [Reyes] because everyone makes mistakes.)
Exactly a year ago, Reyes got booed by the 19,829 fans at Mall of Asia Arena during the team introduction of their 84-46 win over Saudi Arabia, which was Jordan Clarkson’s first home game for the Philippines in the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers window.
With Gilas fighting for its dear life against the powerhouse Italy, Reyes wasn’t spared from getting booed as spectators jeered him when he was introduced before the start of the game.
The loss to Italy left the Philippines winless in Group A and sent the country to the classification phase for eliminated squads.
Ravena, meanwhile, knows that this wasn’t the first time Reyes has dealt with the public’s hate, but it won’t stop him from rallying behind their tactician.
“I know it’s been happening, but I’m gonna play for my coach ‘till the wheels fall off. This is something that I have to lead by example, [kami] ni Japeth [Aguilar] and most of the guys that have been here. It wasn’t the first time that’s happened.”
“Again, we have to use this crowd as an advantage, not a disadvantage, right? This is the reason we brought the event here,” the Gilas guard said. “We need to flip the script and turn the crowd into an advantage rather than us feeling nervous and not being able to play well because of what we hear from the crowd.”
Despite the jeers, Ravena remained grateful to the thousands of fans, who have been supporting them since the record-breaking attendance at Philippine Arena in the opener. He also encouraged their supporters to stay with them until the classification round, where they try to emerge as the best Asian team and qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Kiefer Ravena on the crowd’s jeers on Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes. #FIBAWC
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Tuesday, August 29, 2023
“At the end of the day, we’re still thankful but I hope that from this stage on, we’re almost done anyway, you’ll keep supporting us,” Ravena said.
Jordan Clarkson, who stood with Reyes when the jeering happened in his first home game last year, felt the same after seeing his coach again on the receiving end of boos from their own home crowd.
“Especially us hosting and us being the home country,” he added. “But yeah, I really don’t know much about the situation, but like you’ve said, it does, at that point, feel a little weird. It’s out of the ordinary, honestly.”