DESPITE the country’s continued rise in the Fiba world rankings, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes still expressed disappointment over the Philippines' three-place rise compared to other Asian rivals, specifically South Korea.
In particular, Reyes questioned why the South Koreans are still ranked higher than the Filipinos considering they failed to register a win in five games in the recent Fiba World Cup in Spain.
Gilas Pilipinas finished with a better record of 1-4 (win-loss), but could only rise from 34th place to 31st as per the official Fiba rankings released this week.
The Koreans, meanwhile, jumped four places to No. 27 from its previous ranking of 31st.
At the same time, Reyes pointed out Gilas Pilipinas had a better finish than Korea in the Fiba-Asia Cup last July, where the Filipinos finished third, as well as in last year's Fiba-Asia championships in Manila.
“We’re happy we climbed in the ranking but to be honest, I don’t know why Korea has a bigger climb than us,” Reyes told sportswriters during Wednesday’s official Asian Games send-off for the national team sponsored by Max’s Restaurant at its Smart Araneta Coliseum branch.
“Korea went up four notches and we went up only three, and we placed better than Korea in the last three Fiba tournaments,” said Reyes.
“I’m disappointed with that three-place increase to be very honest with you. I thought we deserved to be ranked higher than 31,” stressed the Gilas mentor, who steered the team to an 81-79 overtime win over Senegal in the team’s final game in the preliminary stage of the World Cup.
Nonetheless, Reyes said the nationals won’t let the Fiba ranking affect their ongoing preparation for the Asian Games, which incidentally, will be hosted by South Korea in Incheon.
“We never play for the rankings. We play for pride, we play for the country, and we play for our families,” said Reyes. “The rankings are just secondary for us. We don’t even think of that.”
Gilas is set to leave on Saturday to begin its ambitious quest of regaining the Asiad basketball championship and end the country’s 52-year gold medal drought.