MORE than the question on which team Smart Gilas 2.0 will face in the quarterfinals of the Fiba Asia Cup championship, Chot Reyes is more worried about the two-day break his team will have prior to the knockout stage.
After rounding out its preliminary-round campaign in Group A with a 98-46 rout of winless Macau, the Nationals will have to cool their heels as they have no scheduled game on the final day of the elims on Tuesday before the tournament takes its customary break on Wednesday.
That leaves Reyes with a tough balancing act, needing to keep his team sharp for the tougher matches in the knockout stage but at the same time fresh enough to hopefully win three straight games for the title.
“Our biggest concern is we have two days off,” said Reyes, who had a late lunch with the team on Monday after the high-noon massacre of Macau. "Right now, the challenge is to keep the players sharp while fresh at the same time.
“It’s also important that they (players) remain driven.”
That was the reason Reyes' team headed straight to a hard one-hour practice after the easy victory over Macau, which saw naturalized player Marcus Douthit work out a good sweat going through drills after sitting out the Macau romp.
But at the same time, Reyes gave his team the Tuesday off to spend for some sightseeing and shopping.
Gilas finished the eliminations tied at the top of Group A with China and Lebanon on 3-1 cards, but wound up as the No. 2 seed behind Lebanon when the tiebreak was applied.
They will next face either Qatar or Chinese-Taipei in the quarterfinals, which should be good news for Reyes.
Smart Gilas played Qatar in a tune-up game before departing for the Japanese capital, beating the visitors, 78-71. It also beat Chinese-Taipei on its home turf on the way to winning its first Jones Cup title in 14 years.
“It looks like it’ll either be Qatar or Chinese-Taipei. Both are as good or as tough as the other,” said the national coach. “Looks like whichever team it is, it’ll be a tough one.”
Smart Gilas 98 – Chan 18, Reyes 12, David 12, Ganuelas 11, Dillinger 11, Norwood 9, Tenorio 7, Thoss 6, Fonacier 6, De Ocampo 4, Villanueva 2.
Macau 46 – Lao 14, Cheong 12, Lo 10, Cai 6, Lai 4, Wong 0, Iong 0, Iong N 0.
Quarterscores: 33-14, 55-33, 83-41, 98-46.