Gilas has three weeks to prepare for World Cup qualifiers, but will players show up on time?
Chot Reyes has set a November 3 start for Gilas' training camp ahead of the start of its campaign in the World Cup qualifiers against Japan. Jham Mariano

GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes insisted the country’s latest Fiba ranking hardly reflects the national team’s recent performance – and how it will perform in the Fiba World Cup qualifiers.

The Philippines dropped three spots to 30th, although the country remained among the Top Five in Asia in the latest rankings released by the international basketball federation (Fiba) last Wednesday.

“It is a lot better than where we were before,” Reyes said on Wednesday, pointing out the national team has been ranked as low as in the 60s in the mid-2000s when Fiba suspended the country.  “But like I said, it has nothing to do with how we play on the court.

“The rankings are the rankings on paper. In the end, it’s how you play,” he added.

Reyes cited Gilas’ upset win over 24th-ranked China in the Fiba Asia Cup as well as other results that refute what the rankings dictate.

“Anong rank ng China? Tinalo nga natin yung China,” Reyes said. "Some other teams who are lower-ranked than us can also beat us. For me, I don’t look much – I think it’s a gauge of our progress of how far we’ve gone, but in the end, it doesn’t hold much value to me.”

What has value to the national coach is Gilas’ resuming training on November 3 – giving the Nationals three weeks to prepare for its first assignment in the World Cup qualifiers against Japan – relatively longer time than pervious buildups.

Still, the preparation is shorter compared to other countries’ buildups.

“Nakakaawa naman tayo, yung three weeks, mahaba na para sa atin,” Reyes said. “Yesterday nilabas na ng Japan yung 24-man pool nila. But yeah, it’s better than nothing.”

“But it’s one thing to say na November 3, you have three weeks, but it’s another thing to have  - will they be there a hundred percent?” he was quick to add.

“Parang yung last Fiba Asia, when we started, we had two weeks preparation, but hindi tayo nakumpleto except for one practice, and nabuo lang tayo, nandun na tayo sa Beirut. I hope makumpleto tayo.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos