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    Chot reacts to 'We want Baldwin!' chants in Gilas-NZ game

    Feb 28, 2022
    Gilas coach Chot Reyes says the criticism is the least of his worries.

    GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes has gotten so accustomed to criticism thrown his way since assuming the post for the national team last month that he'd be more surprised if there won't be any.

    When a number of fans shouted "We want Baldwin!" during the Gilas-New Zealand game on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the colorful mentor said he was so focused on the game that he did not even hear those chants.

    "I did not hear it last night, to be very honest," Reyes told CNN Sports Desk on Monday. "Realistically, when the ball game starts, I don't hear much, I don't see much because my entire focus is on what's going on."


      A number of fans from the upper box area of the Smart Araneta Coliseum started the chants in the middle of the third quarter when the Tall Blacks started to pull away from Gilas, voicing support for former national coach Tab Baldwin.

      The heckling continued up to the fourth quarter as a number of disappointed spectators made a beeline to the exits even before the final buzzer sounded on the Philippines' 88-63 defeat to New Zealand in their 2023 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifier.

      Baldwin keeps mum

      Baldwin was the architect of Gilas' success in the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark where the Philippines beat Korea twice. He left his post in late January, opting to focus on his obligations with Ateneo that paved the way for Reyes' return.

      The American-Kiwi mentor has yet to speak about the matter, although the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has found itself under fire for the sudden changes that left Gilas plans for the 2023 Fiba World Cup in disarray.


      Reyes said it was only when he got a chance to talk to his family that he found out about those chants.


        But he understands that these doubters also comes with the territory.

        "[To be] very honest, I expected it. I came into this job, I accepted this job with my eyes wide open. I had no pretensions, I had no illusions that this was going to be easy," said the five-time PBA Coach of the Year awardee.

        "I knew I was going to get widely bashed, and criticized and hated upon, and I still took it nonetheless. Because that's never going to get in the way of my service to my country," he said.

        Reyes said the bashing is the least of his problems as he tries to fulfill the mandate handed to him by SBP bosses, which was to rebuild the Gilas program in the lead-up to the 2023 Fiba World Cup.

        "I have a lot bigger problems on my plate right now than to mind those, the haters and the bashers," said the concurrent TNT mentor,reiterating that like any good soldier, he's only following orders from the SBP top brass.

        "They don't know what's going on inside. I mean, if they are here inside, then they can speak, and they can comment all they want, if they know what's going on. But unless they're here inside, in the very inner, the innards of the team, then whatever they say has very little meaning to me. I don't pay any attention to it."

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        Gilas coach Chot Reyes says the criticism is the least of his worries.
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