Chemistry crucial as Chot Reyes, Gilas 5.0 aim to mirror success of predecessors
Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, Terrence Romeo, and Calvin Abueva are among the handful of players in the Gilas 5.0 pool with experience in the Fiba Asia championship.

A QUICK survey of the lineup and Chot Reyes knew right away he has to start all over again with this latest batch of Gilas Pilipinas players under him.

With fresh faces comprising more than half of the national training pool, Reyes admitted Gilas will have to start from scratch as far as cohesion and camaraderie is concerned with five months left before it faces its major test in the Fiba Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon.

The Gilas coach cited those two factors as the big difference between the current pool and the team he handled back in 2013 that went on to clinch a berth in the Fiba World Cup in Spain.

"Obviously it's a very different talent and a very different material," he told SPIN.ph of the team he has at his disposal right now. "Ang difference is that yung ‎2013-2014 Gilas, team na 'yun. Ito we're just starting out."

From that Gilas team which Reyes steered to a runner-up finish behind Iran during the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship, only June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, and Jayson Castro remain with the current training pool.

Terrence Romeo, Troy Rosario, and Calvin Abueva on the other hand, are the only remnants of the Gilas team that also won silver in the Fiba Asia meet in Changsha, China in 2015 under former coach Tab Baldwin.

The rest are all new to the Gilas program, such as Allein Maliksi, Raymund Almazan, Norbert Torres, LA Revilla, Bradwyn Guinto, Jonathan Grey, and Art dela Cruz.

The other half of the pool meanwhile, are made up of cadets that include Mac Belo, Kevin Ferrer, Arnold Van Opstal, Roger Pogoy, Ed Daquioag, Mike Tolomia, Von Pesumal, Carl Bryan Cruz, Jio Jalalon, Matther Wright, Alfonso Gotladera, and Russel Escoto.

In effect, experience is also lacking in the team, according to Reyes.

"Remember yung 2013-14 meron na tayong nucleus nung 2012 Jones Cup champion," he said of Gilas' predecessors, who ruled the Jones Cup tournament led by meet MVP LA Tenorio, a year before its campaign in the Fiba Asia in Manila.

"Medyo mas team na 'yung grupo na yun."

He admitted missing some of the core players of his previous Gilas team, the likes of Marc Pingris, Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel de Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, among others.

"Siyempre," was his curt reply when asked about it. "Malaking bagay sa akin ang mga yun."

But with the future of the team in his mind, Reyes said it's time to move on and start molding majority of these young players to become men.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The Gilas coach is willing to wait and keep his patience, which he stressed is always a virtue.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos