GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes is satisfied with the pool of players made available at his disposal for the first window of the Fiba World Cup qualifiers later this month.
Despite the ongoing standoff between two factions in the PBA board over the tenure of commissioner Chito Narvasa, the league and mother clubs have all released the players who Reyes chose to be in the 16-man pool for this window that will see them face Japan in Tokyo on November 24 and Chinese Taipei in Manila three days later.
Granting an interview with News5 sports reporter Lyn Olavario, Reyes is glad to see the players he expects to show up.
“I don’t think there are any surprises (in the pool),” said Reyes, who has imposed a no-interview policy on the team while holding practices behind closed doors during the buildup for the qualifiers. “That’s why we’re very pleased with what we have.”
All the 15 PBA players showed up for the first time on Wednesday night, although Reyes bared Terrence Romeo and Japeth Aguilar are nursing minor injuries.
Reyes, though, is holding his breath regarding naturalized player Andray Blatche, who’s scheduled to arrive on Sunday and make his return to national duty after missing the Fiba Asia Cup.
“We hope he would be here on the 12th, but you’ll never know with Andray until he arrives,” Reyes said. “That’s the only time you’ll know he’s here – pag dating niya.”
After three straight days of two-a-day practices, Gilas took a break on Thursday, before going on another grueling three-day stretch of two practices per day.
“When we come back, we’ll just continue these two-a-days until the time that Andray comes in,” Reyes said. “But we’re doing a lot of cramming, also because these guys are in their offseason, so we have to fast-track their conditioning.”
The Filipino dribblers leave for Japan on November 21, while the lineup against the Japanese team will be known two days later or on the eve of the game.