AS the 27th Fiba-Asia men’s championship nears, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes admits feeling the pressure to deliver before an expectant hometown crowd.
“We’ve talked about this (pressure) already a long time ago,” Reyes said. “But the first step is to acknowledge and not deny it. And second, we have to focus on the big picture as well as focus on the little things.”
Reyes knows the pressure of playing in the Fiba-Asia tournament, having handled the national team that finished in ninth place in the 2007 edition in Tokushima, Japan.
He was also an assistant to Rajko Toroman in the team that finished in fourth place in 2011 in Wuhan, China.
Now he’s got a shot at redemption, and he looks to work on the final physical, mental, and tactical preparations and how to put it all together.
“We’re in a stage where it’s (preparation) mostly mental. We also want to make sure we keep our physical edge and our sharpness, that’s why we do a lot of running in the track,” explained the multi-titled PBA mentor.
Aside from the help from the Philippine coaching pool including Norman Black, the tactical side of preparations have recently involved former national coaches of other countries.
Reyes says he is appreciative of the fact that veteran international coach Rajko Toroman has given his input, and he recently started consulting with Tab Baldwin in laying down the game plan against groupmates Jordan, Chinese Taipei and Saudi Arabia.
With two international coaching stints with the Lebanon and Jordan national teams in 2010 and 2011 behind him, Baldwin could give Gilas vital scouting reports as they prepare for the Jordanians and Taiwanese in the first round of the elims, Reyes said.
“Coach Tab is not asking for anything. Di niya kailangan ng role or recognition,” said the former Talk ‘N Text head coach, noting that Baldwin arrived last weekend without much fanfare.
“He’s helping where he is needed like to scout here, bounce our ideas off him. So for us, it’s like having coach Rajko there or coach Tim (Cone) there. Somebody who we can bounce our ideas from or of, somebody who has an intimate knowledge of the international game,” he added.