DESPITE Gilas Pilipinas' impressive run to the Seaba Championship, Chot Reyes said he is prouder to see his players 'honor the game' in the face of inferior competition.
"They played competitively but stayed grounded. They worked hard, but not overly physical. Overall, an ideal way of playing competitions like this," the national coach said, moments after a 97-64 win over Indonesia capped Gilas' sweep of the regional showpiece.
"I kept reminding the players to play the right way. I thought we really did a good job on that," Reyes continued. "Players focused on what needed to be done, no unnecessary actions or movement. I think that was very important: to play the right way."
The Phlippine team was clearly a cut above the rest in the seven-team conclave, but Reyes was quick to remind people that Gilas was once at the wrong end of one-sided games during its buildup for the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain.
"I remember in the run-up to the World Championships, we played a pocket tourney in France, and we got severely spanked by Australia, we got beaten badly by some of the other Latin American countries. We played a Division 2 (team) and we got beat as well," Reyes said.
"So that's all part of the development, that's all part of the learning. We know how it feels to be on the opposite end," he added.
Gilas went on to fair well in the World Cup, giving the likes of world powers like Argentina, France and Greece a scare before beating Senegal.
That, Reyes said, is proof that anything can happen in basketball - even in the Seaba.
"I kept reminding my players that when we go out against the "super powers" of basketball, hindi rin sila nakakasigurado pag tayo ang kalaban," Reyes continued.
"Same thing here. Even if we are heavily favored, hindi tayo nakakasigurado. It's the essence of sport."