Gilas Pilipinas ranked No. 34 in the world, will have yet to play its first game against No. 54 Lebanon on July 13 in the Fiba Asia Cup 2022 but this early, national coach Chot Reyes downplayed his team’s chances as he targets a modest goal of finishing eighth overall in the tournament that kicks off on July 12 in Indonesia.
Reyes, whose resignation as Gilas coach is being called by netizens, said the Asia Cup’s main goal is to assess the national squad’s progress in preparation for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“We just want to manage expectations. We’re going to try our best to get to the top eight in the FIBA Asia,” Reye said. “But the objective really is to take a look at the players that we have on this team and see and look at their continued development and continue our process of finding out what it is going to take to make sure that we have the best team for [the] 2023 [World Cup].”
Veterans PBA’s Poy Erram and Japan B. League stars Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy Ravena, and Ray Parks will beef up the young squad whose mainstays are mostly in the early 20s the likes of Francis Lopez (19), Geo Chiu, and Kevin Quiambao (21), RJ Abarrientos (22), and SJ Belangel (23).
Carl Tamayo, William Navarro, and Francis Lopez are also suiting up for the Gilas.
Gilas schedule moving forward
The Philippines is playing under Group D with Lebanon as its first assignment followed by India on July 15, and tormentor New Zealand on July 17.
Reyes said Group D is a very tough group.
Although Lebanon is ranked lower than the Philippines, he said the former has been playing its best in recent years.
He added, “Their team is really stacked. They’re playing a very high level of basketball. It will take our best to just be able to compete with that team.”
“We know how tough New Zealand is. India as you saw is no pushover as well,” Reyes said.
Gilas need to at least finish third in its group to have a shot of finishing eighth with the top squad booking a direct ticket to the quarterfinals.
After five years, Parks is playing for flag and country anew after seeing action for the nationals in the 2017 29th Southeast Asian Games where he averaged 10.6 points per game.
Naturalized center Ange Kouame was sidelined due to a partial ACL tear in the third window, forcing the team to compete with only 11 players against New Zealand and only 10 players opposite India last week as Dave Ildefonso also missed action due to a knee injury.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) bared that Dwight Ramos will not play for the Gilas in the Fiba Asia Cup 2022 as he is suffering from medial tibial stress syndrome or shin splints.
Nenad Vucinic, Jong Uichico, and Sandro Soriano will assist Reyes in coaching the Gilas.
Meanwhile, SBP’s page was flooded with comments from netizens who mostly wanted to oust Reyes as the head coach.
Renz Espero said, “We never forgot Coach Chot’s achievements for our country. But please Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas – SBP his coaching style and plays are outdated. We are not bashers nor haters, we just want our best for our national team. We really want Coach Tab Baldwin or Nenad Vucinic to be the head coach of Gilas!”
SBP top fan Rani Bacus Calsis, for his part, wrote: “Oh no!! Not him again???!!! Why do you keep bringing him back??! It’s very obvious that his program it’s not applicable anymore to GILAS and his time is through already and overdone. Just look for somebody else.”
Randy Purino urged Reyes to just give up although he may be a great PBA coach as his style is not fit for the international competition.
Darwin L. Simpelo also asked if there was nobody else more suitable to coach the national team. “Di ba pwede the likes of Tab Baldwin? After that humiliating defeat in SEAG, Chot should have done the honorable thing to resign and pass the baton to someone who is very competent. I don’t know which is more upsetting: Chot’s incompetent stone face of staying or SBP’s choosing to keep him. Best of luck Gilas,” he said.