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    COLUMN: Chot, SBP in discussions to focus on one coaching job in February

    Nov 28, 2022
    Chot Reyes Gilas
    Chot Reyes' handling of two teams finally took its toll.
    PHOTO: fiba.basketball
    spin zone

    CHICAGO -- While he didn't juggle chainsaws and flaming torches, Chot Reyes recently performed the highwire act of coaching both Gilas Pilipinas and Talk N' Text in the PBA.

    Though fascinating, the routine was exhausting, both mentally and physically.

    It was perilous, too. And harder than merging peace and harmony.

    Juggling two equally demanding jobs has a high mortality rate. You can still be good at one but the danger of sucking at both lurks.

    In Reyes' case, Gilas prospered and swept the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers by beating Jordan and Saudi Arabia in their respective home turfs.

    Unfortunately, TNT suffered and died at the doorstep of a pitifully lackluster 4-8 record in the Commissioner's Cup, ending a streak of 24 consecutive playoffs berths.

    Fans have always lamented the fact that two masters can't be served at the same time and that two canoes can't be paddled at once.


    "That's being discussed now," Chot told me when I asked him about the possibility of deputizing his TNT job during the sixth window this coming February in our own backyard at the PhilSports Arena.

    It's a path that TNT team manager Jojo Lastimosa is starting to prepare for.

    "There's a possibility that we might see less of coach Chot at TNT. This is a World Cup year and we need him to be locked in with Gilas," Jolas told me in a separate interview.

    The Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas (SBP), meanwhile, declined comment, saying only that it's "premature" as talks continue to progress.


    TNT has a rich stable of assistants that can pinch hit for Chot. But some of them also happen to juggle orange balls.

    Sandy Arespacochaga is employed at Ateneo with coach Tab Baldwin while Yuri Escueta is calling the shots at San Beda.

    Still, the substitute pool is teeming with talent -- Josh Reyes, Bong Ravena, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Mau Belen.

    But a source told me that TNT, given its vast and infinite resources, may still pursue the "right" assistant the way Gilas found Tim Cone for Chot, a collaboration that has brought chemistry and success so far.

    Regardless of who gets to replace Reyes on an interim basis, the possibility of coach Chot devoting his entire energy to Gilas is great news as it pertains to our national team's pursuit of greatness at the World Cup.



      Meanwhile, Reyes confirmed that La Salle star and former MVP top candidate Schonny Winston will be invited to tryout for the February window roster.

      "He will have to earn a spot like everyone else," Reyes said.

      Once he is 100 percent healthy from the lingering discomfort of recovering from a calf, Winston will shine in that audition. His speed, quickness. scoring ability and playmaking will be a boost for Gilas.

      LAST SHOT. As for TNT's vanquished Commissioner's Cup campaign, coach Chot added this tidbit.

      "I'm not making excuses nor blaming anyone. The responsibility ultimately falls on me. But our season isn't over. There's still the third conference and don't forget that we went to the Finals in the All-Filipino Cup and came within a game of winning it all in a seven-game series where I coached only four games."

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      Chot Reyes' handling of two teams finally took its toll.
      PHOTO: fiba.basketball
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