CHOT Reyes dropped two players from the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the second window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup qualifiers due to continued absences from practice.
Reyes later took back Calvin Abueva, who eventually made it all the way to the 12-man lineup for the match against Australia on Thursday; he never recalled Almazan even in the face of a shortage of big men following injuries to Troy Rosario and Mac Belo.
On Tuesday, he explained why.
While Abueva called up to explain his absences from Gilas practices and made amends by attending every Gilas practice despite his axing, Reyes said he received no word from Almazan.
No phone call, no explanation.
"We’ve always said you can always play yourself into the lineup and play yourself out of the lineup. And Calvin was always there, always present," the multi-titled coach said on Wednesday in a livestream from Melbourne carried by ESPN5.
"He understood that it was going to be unfair to the other players who were not missing practice if he would be still considered for the second window.
"Since then, even if he knew he was not going to be in the Final 12 for the second window, he never missed any practice, he did whatever we asked of him whether as a practice player or member of the scouting team."
The Gilas coach said injuries to Rosario and Belo opened the door for Abueva.
"Mac Belo and Troy Rosario came down with injuries and you know that opened the door for Calvin, just that simple," he said. "The others, like Raymund Almzazan, never called, never showed up. Calvin was a different case."
Reyes admitted that Abueva was informed about the Gilas recall as early as February 7, but explained why he decided to keep it under wraps - even to the point of denying the story about it.
"This was I think February 7 when Calvin knew he was going to be back in the second window, but we decided to keep very quiet because, of course, we wanted to keep our cards close to our chest, so that’s the reason," he said.