Gilas coach Chot Reyes: I’ll answer bashers, but face-to-face
MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes said he will answer all criticisms his bashers have thrown at him as long as they talk to him face-to-face even as he lamented how the hate directed at him affected the morale of his players in the Fiba World Cup.
“The people don’t realize, for me, the booing before the games, that’s okay, I’m used to it. I even clapped when they booed tonight,” said Reyes, referring to a big part of the 11,000 fans who booed him anew in their final game against China at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“But they don’t realize the effect on the players … They get demoralized as well; they are wondering why that is happening.”
The two-time World Cup coach got booed during Jordan Clarkson’s first home game against Saudi Arabia in the World Cup Asian Qualifiers at Mall of Asia Arena last year and has been asked by the fans to resign on social media.
Booing affected players
In this tournament, he has heard the boos during pregame introductions since the loss to Angola.
“All the calls for me to resign and all of that, the players read about it and they are affected. So it affects the game, the way we play games. It’s a distraction to the team. It’s not good for the team. They don’t deserve it,” Reyes said.
Reyes has already told the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas that their 96-75 victory over China will be his last game as Gilas coach as he and his family have decided to ‘step aside’—a term he used to sidestep any notion that he is a quitter.
“This is a decision that I arrived at with my family. I just think it’s time. We had a great preparation plan. We started preparation for this on June 12, Independence Day. But we didn’t get our first complete practice as a team [until] August 18, one week before our first game. Think about that. Even Team USA started practice August 3. For us, August 18, was the first practice we had as a complete lineup. Seven days. And still we fought. We fought all those opponents, Italy, [a] top-10 team, Dominican [Republic], Angola,” Reyes said. “We fell short. We fell short. But France didn’t advance, Australia is not advancing. There are so many powerful teams that didn’t advance. But the Philippines, losing is not allowed. It’s only here where losing is not allowed.”
“After a while, it was just too heavy. It was too painful, too difficult, just to be very honest. Some of the things that were being said were already crossing the line. I don’t deserve it, my family doesn’t deserve it,” he added.
Reyes challenged his critics to face him personally, vowing to answer all their questions.
“My family and my players do not deserve it and I would just ask all of my detractors and bashers, I’m willing to answer every single one of their comments as long as they talk to me face-to-face. Just don’t hide behind … social media, come and talk to me face to face and I will answer all your points one by one, on why certain decisions were made and why it is what it is,” he said. “In the end, the players don’t deserve it, my family certainly doesn’t deserve it. So I ask my bashers and my detractors, I hope they’re as perfect as they put themselves to be.”
Reyes steered the Philippines back into the World Cup in 2014 after the team led by Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro finished with the silver in the Asian Championship 2013 at MOA Arena. He got a total of two wins on separate occasions.
The outgoing Gilas coach received the game ball signed by all of his players including Jordan Clarkson, which he appreciated so much amid all the adversities they went through
“Great gesture by the players,” Reyes said.
Gilas coach Chot Reyes bares that he told Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas before the match against China that it’s going to be his last game. #FIBAWCREAD: inq.news/ChotStepsAside
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Saturday, September 2, 2023