CHOT Reyes sees first time Gilas players Raymund Almazan, Norbert Torres, Bradwyn Guinto, and rookies Mac Belo and Matthew Wright as ideal pieces to the kind of team he’s forming aimed at earning a return to the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
The national coach admitted the absence of veterans Ranidel de Ocampo and Jeff Chan in the training pool of this fifth version of Gilas Pilipinas prompted him and his coaching staff to take a closer look at these young guns, who he hope would be good enough to fill in the shoes of the two former national players.
“For the new guys, I’m really taking a look at Almazan and Bradwyn Guinto,” said Reyes, adding it’s no secret Gilas needs a ‘big’ who can shoot from the outside.
“And that’s what we like about Bradwyn, and Almazan and Norbert Torres as well because we’re going to miss big time the 'spread four’ skills of Ranidel de Ocampo.”
The TnT Katropa power forward – the only player to suit up in all four previous versions of Gilas - already said his stint with the national team during the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament was his last.
Still, Reyes made the courtesy of calling the 34-year-old De Ocampo and explained to him why he was leaving him out of the Gilas training pool this time along with fellow old-timers Gabe Norwood and Marc Pingris.
For good measure, Reyes on Tuesday got clearance both from TnT and the PBA to have Troy Rosario come on board the national team as added boost to its ‘stretch four’ spot.
And then there’s Wright, the Phoenix freshman whose outside artillery has obviously impressed the architect of the country’s return to the world basketball championship following a 36-year absence.
“Matthew Wright will come in and bring the shooting that we’re going to miss without a Jeff Chan or a Larry Fonacier,” said Reyes.
The Gilas coach is also looking forward handling for the first time Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo, hands down, the face of the national team since last year.
“I’m looking forward to working with Calvin and Terrence. I haven’t personally worked with both of them yet,” said the Gilas coach of the two young stars, who first played for Gilas under previous coach Tab Baldwin.