CHOT Reyes has some bad news and good news, just two days before Gilas Pilipinas goes to Wuhan, China for the Fiba Asia Cup.
The bad news: Reyes expects reigning Asian men’s champion Iran, Jordan, Japan, China and Chinese-Taipei to field their strongest lineups for the Fiba Asia Cup.
The goods news is, Reyes and his coach staff can start scouting these Asian national teams to gain a headstart in their preparation for the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea in mid-September.
They Said It!
“I really like our chances especially if we have Andray Blatche play comfortably in our team." Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes
“It’s the Jordan national team, the Iranian national team and Chinese-Taipei national team playing (in Fiba Asia Cup). And I’m pretty sure China is playing the national team also kasi palaging gusto nila ipanalo kapag nasa bansa nila,” Reyes said on Tuesday night during Max’s sendoff party for Gilas.
Reyes said they are not entertaining any thoughts of winning the Fiba Asia Cup, since Gilas isn’t playing full strength with veterans Larry Fonacier, Jason Castro, Jimmy Alapag and Jeff Chan all resting after a gruelling PBA season.
The main purpose of the Wuhan trip, Reyes said, is to allow the Gilas players especially the new boys to get their feet wet in overseas competition ahead of the World Cup in Spain and the Asiad.
“Kami kasi, it’s being able to go back to the grind of the international game. Iyun lang ang kailangan from the mental and emotional standpoint of the players,” added Reyes, whose new-look Gilas roster includes Jay Washington, Garvo Lanete, Kevin Alas, Paul Lee and Beau Belga.
By getting the opportunity to see the Iranians, the Chinese, the Jordanians and even the Taiwanese play in the Asia Cup this early, Reyes said Gilas can start mapping out strategy for the Asian Games, where the Filipinos hope to put an end to the country’s 52-year title drought.
The Philippines won its last Asian Games basketball crown in 1962 in Jakarta, Indonesia, but Reyes is confident Gilas will have a shot at ending that dry spell with Brooklyn Nets center Andray Blatche now in the fold.
“I really like our chances especially if we have Andray Blatche play comfortably in our team,” said the national coach of Gilas' newly minted naturalized player.
“I remember, last year against Iran (in the Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Manila), we didn’t have Marcus (Douthit) when we played in the finals. So hopefully, when we have a full roster, we can get to the semis and land in the finals,” he added.