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    Nenad Vucinic will take over the Gilas reins from Chot Reyes in the meantime.
    Nenad Vucinic will take over the Gilas reins from Chot Reyes in the meantime.
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas' (SBP) announcement on Thursday that Nenad Vucinic will be taking over from Chot Reyes to coach Gilas Pilipinas in the coming window of the Fiba World Cup qualifiers was met with more questions than answers.

    Foremost of which was: 'Is the change permanent?'

    Deluged by questions in our comments section, we sought out SBP officials, some of whom have made themselves scarce these days after Gilas' horrific loss to Indonesia in the gold-medal game of the Hanoi SEA Games.

    [See Nenad Vucinic to coach Gilas in Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers]

    But we fortunately got hold of one and, asked if Reyes is still in charge, both as Gilas coach and program director of the SBP, his answer was an emphatic, "YES!!!"

    Digging deeper, we learned that Vucinic taking over for the Fiba World Cup qualifiers was already part of the plan drawn up by Reyes upon his return to the national team job following Tab Baldwin's controversial exit.

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      An insider bared the Vucinic plan was drawn up by Reyes himself and not some knee-jerk reaction to the debacle in Hanoi.

      The set-up also works out well for Reyes since he has to return to coach TNT Tropang GIGA in the PBA Philippine Cup, which will coincide with the buildup for the Fiba World Cup qualifiers against New Zealand in Auckland on June 30 and India at Mall of Asia Arena on July 3.

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      Nenad Vucinic Gilas Pilipinas

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      The Fiba window would be the first head-coaching job for Vucinic with the Philippine national team since he was brought in by Baldwin as a consultant. Vucinic served as one of Baldwin's assistants at New Zealand before taking over the Tall Black's coaching position in 2007.

      But regardless of the Gilas result, SBP insiders assured that Reyes will be back on the job, even as early as the Fiba Asia Cup in Indonesia come mid-July.

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      Nenad Vucinic will take over the Gilas reins from Chot Reyes in the meantime.
      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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