AGAINST all odds, head coach coach Josh Reyes vowed Gilas Pilipinas 5.0 will fight tooth-and-nail in the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup set to unfurl on September 9 in Iran.
"By giving it all we got, taking things seriously and giving it our puso, syempre bibigay namin ang puso namin, then hopefully we'll have a chance to win," said Reyes moments after Gilas beat SCTEX, 106-83, in its final tune-up game on Monday at the Meralco Gym.
"If maka-tsamba kami, we win a couple of games, then we might get to the quarterfinals, who knows? But we just want to compete in every possession," he added.
Issues on schedule and availability have hampered the preparation of the team that will go to battle without a single PBA player as well as amateur standouts like Kiefer Ravena, Bobby Ray Parks, and Jio Jalalon.
But the son of former Gilas coach Chot Reyes reiterated that the young, inexperienced squad only has modest goals, among them to gain experience they need most for future international competitions.
"The realistic goal is to compete. And that means every possession in the tournament, we do our best, we focus and execute our game plan whether it's offensively or defensively," he said. "That's how we'll gain positive experience. That's what we want to get eh, positive experience."
“Because people say we're a weaker team, we don't want to develop bad habits by just saying, ‘Okay lang, lalaro lang kami doon, kahit anong mangyari.’ Ayaw natin nun. That will be a negative experience. We want everything to be positive," Reyes added.
The young Gilas mentor is also keeping his fingers crossed that their efforts will pay dividends in the long run.
"We have a lot of young, raw talent, and hopefully, by competing a lot in competitions like the one in Iran, then we will be able to develop all of them," he said.