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    In face of defeat, Chot encouraged by bench-led Gilas fightback

    Jul 13, 2022
    Chot Reyes Gilas Lebanon
    PHOTO: Fiba.basketball

    GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes charged his side's 95-80 defeat to Lebanon in the 2022 Fiba Asia Cup on Wednesday to experience, saying lessons learned from the loss will make the team better in long run.

    "Unfortunate that the result turned out this way, but I thought we made a great run," he said after the opening debut that left the Philippines in a tough road just to make the final stages of the playoffs.

    "For us, it's a great learning experience. We have a very young team here, and for them to be able to experience this kind of very high level competition, I think that's the most important thing," Reyes added.

    [See Gilas sent crashing by hot-shooting Lebanon]

    The Philippines fought back from a 22-point deficit, 82-60, early in the fourth quarter and rode a spark from Carl Tamayo to get within nine, 83-74, with 4:42 remaining in the game.

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    The many-time PBA Coach of the Year was encouraged by the gritty comeback led by his bench, even if it fell short.

    "We never quit even when we were down by almost 20 points in the fourth. We made a great run to get within single digits midway through the fourth quarter," he said.

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      "I was really looking for a spark off the bench," Reyes noted. "We started off well with that starting unit. But when Lebanon got the hang of defending that starting unit, they were stopping the things that we wanted to do. So we thought that if we get other guys on the floor, then we would be able to do a good job."

      In the end, though, the gap proved too wide for this young Gilas crew to overcome as it dropped its opening assignment in Group D.

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      "The spread, the buffer that they got in the third quarter when they were hitting all those three-point shots was just too much for us to overcome. So I think that was the story," he lamented after Wael Arakji, Hayk Gyokchan, and naturalized player Jonathan Arledge gave the Filipinos headaches on 9-of-18 shooting from distance.

      Kiefer Ravena Gilas Lebanon

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      Not helping the Philippines any were the 16 turnovers that led to 21 easy points for the Cedars.

      "If we were able to cut that down, then it would have been a much closer ball game," he said.

      Still, Reyes is urging his wards to put this defeat in the rearview as they shift their sights to India on Friday.

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      PHOTO: Fiba.basketball
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