NATIONAL coach Chot Reyes made it clear on Tuesday that he is forming the best team, not necessarily a collection of the country’s top basketball talents, for the Gilas Pilipinas 5.0 squad.
Gathering Gilas pool members for the first time to prepare for the Seaba tilt, Reyes clearly expressed his goals to the 25-man team all vying for spots in the final roster, saying that he’s not assembling an All-Star squad but is looking for the best lineup that fits the style of play he plans to run.
“More important, we want to start the process of building this team. I’ve always said from Day One, we are building the best team. We’re not assembling the best collection of players,” Reyes said on Tuesday.
“That means, who is the best fit, who plays well together, who are the people who can execute what we want to execute regardless of individual talent,” he added.
[See Surprise Gilas call-up for Maliksi as Lee goes down with knee injury]
The Gilas coach also insisted that there are no shoo-ins for the Final 12. But with five tournaments in store for Gilas, Reyes admitted that they will have to form two teams set for battle in two closely scheduled competitions in August with Fiba Asia and the Southeast Asian Games just days apart.
“You have to think long and hard now if you’re going to commit to this process. Because there is no assurance you are going to make the Final 12, not one of you here has a lock on any kind of slot to the Final 12,” he said.
“Having said that, in August Fiba Asia in Lebanon, Sea Games in Malaysia, we have to form two teams, that’s why all of you here, everybody has a shot of making either one of two teams. Who’s going to make Seaba, I don’t know. Who’s going to make Fiba Asia, SEA Games, you have to determine that. It’s going to be determined by what you show here, how you perform, all of the other intangibles, napakaimportante sa amin yan,” added Reyes.
Apart from a bonding session, Reyes reiterated that this three-day camp will not be lacking in intensity and learning as they are scheduled to have two practices per day in the first two days while finishing off with a single session on Thursday.
“We want to be able to start the process of putting in the system and the kind of play we are going to use. We have two practices today, two practices tomorrow, one on Thursday. We’re going to cram a lot of learning in those five practices,” he said.
In attendance are the Gilas cadets led by Mac Belo, Kevin Ferrer, Jio Jalalon among others, while PBA vets like Calvin Abueva were present. Excused from the camp are June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar who came from a gruelling Philippine Cup Finals, while Terrence Romeo is on sick bay and Paul Lee has been replaced temporarily by Allein Maliksi due to a meniscal tear.