NATIONAL coach Chot Reyes on Thursday reiterated his wish to have the best talent available for what he said is the "colossal task" of representing the country in the Asian basketball championships in Manila in August.
Although elated by Fiba Asia's decision to move the tournament from strife-torn Lebanon to Manila, the Smart Gilas coach said he is "apprehensive more than ever" over the task of winning the championship before home fans.
"Much as we'd like to rejoice, I am filled with apprehension because more than ever it's a 'must-win' for us," said Reyes in an SMS message sent to Spin.ph from Dubai, where Smart Gilas is competing in an international tournament.
Smart Gilas ruled the Jones Cup in Taipei and finished fourth in the Fiba Asia Cup late last year with a team of PBA stars that still lacked a couple of players on Reyes' wish list.
The national team's problems turned worse ahead of the Dubai tournament when only a sprinkling of professional players showed up for the practices of Gilas, forcing Reyes to make do with a team made up mostly of collegiate standouts from the national cadet pool.
"While I never shy away from a challenge, I hope to have the best talent at my disposal in this colossal task," Reyes added.
For that to happen, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas may need to re-work its agreement with the PBA, which makes its players available for the national team on the condition that the league's tournaments are not affected.
As it is, the August 1-11 schedule of the Asian championships already poses a problem since it is just a few days from the end of the league's final conference, meaning the players of teams playing in the finals likely won't be available for Gilas.