INSTEAD of stressing himself on the prospect of facing an Australia side bolstered by NBA players in the next window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes would rather see things on a positive note.
Reyes said the national team is ready to take on the challenge, stressing there will definitely be a lot of lessons to be learned when going up against a talented ballclub expected to be made up by some of the world’s top players.
“Great for us,” said Reyes on Tuesday when asked about his thoughts on seeing Australia possibly parading seven-foot Andrew Bogut when Gilas meets the Boomers for the second time in the World Cup qualifiers this July at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
“The stronger they are, the better experience for our players.”
Bogut, the top pick in the 2005 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, signed a two-year deal with the Sydney Kings in the National Basketball League (NBL) on Monday. He then announced that his 13 NBA seasons are over as he’s focused on helping his new team win a championship.
At the same time, he also disclosed plans of playing for the Boomers again, with sights of suiting up for both the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“The World Cup next… obviously the Olympic Games,” said Bogut in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.
“I’m all for playing for the national team in those two events,” added the 33-year-old Aussie, who played for the national team in three Olympics starting in the 2004 Athens Games all the way to the recent one in Rio de Janeiro two years ago.
But Reyes is actually not only bracing for Bogut’s presence but the other Australian NBA players as well.
“Not only Bogut but even their other NBA players,” he said.
Aside from Bogut, other Aussies in the NBA are Ben Simmons of Philadelphia, Patty Mills of San Antonio, the Utah pair of Dante Exum and Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes of Boston, one-time Philippine visitor Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker of Milwaukee, and Mangok Mathiang of Charlotte.
Their availability for the qualifier though, remains in doubt as all of them, with the exception of Mathiang, are still seeing action in the NBA playoffs.
But even in their absence, the Boomers took care of business at home and dealt Gilas an 84-68 win for the top seed in Group B at 4-0.