HWASEONG, Korea — Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes said Marcus Douthit is welcome to remain part of the national team as he downplayed an ugly episode in the 2014 Asian Games that led to the naturalized player's benching in a game against South Korea.
Speaking after Gilas' gold-medal quest ended despite a win over Kazakhstan, Reyes bared that Douthit has signed a one-year contract with the team - a message that he intends to stay and play for the Philippines.
Sources said Douthit's contract with Gilas was to expire at the end of September.
“I think he is already re-signed to a one-year contract. His contract has been extended. It has been renewed,” Reyes told Filipino reporters after Gilas' 67-65 win over Kazakhstan proved not enough to give the team a shot at the place in the crossover semifinals.
“He is still going to be part of the program, if he wants to,” he said.
Douthit's place in the team was put in doubt after a lackluster showing in a costly loss to Qatar, where the 6-10 naturalized player was accused by Reyes of 'quitting' on Gilas and his actions branded 'un-Filipino.'
He was eventually benched for the Korea game as a disciplinary measure.
Still, Reyes said he still wants Douthit to be part of the Gilas Pilipinas program, even if he had chosen Andray Blatche to play for the Philippines in the Fiba World Cup as well as in the Asiad until the former Brooklyn Net was disqualified because of residency rules.
“I think the intent to renew for one year is a strong statement that we still want him to be part of the program,” said Reyes.
Reyes also made it clear that his relationship with Douthit was in no way strained after his controversial comments against the New York native.
There was no dispute between him and Douthit, the national coach added.
“I want to correct an impression that I had no altercation with Douthit in the Qatar game. No altercation. So that’s not the reason for the disciplinary action,” said Douthit.