BARRING major injuries or a drastic drop in form, coach Chot Reyes wants to bring along the 12 courageous men who finished runner-up to Iran in the last Fiba-Asia championships when Gilas Pilipinas vies in next year's Fiba World Cup in Spain.
"Hindi natin masasabi (dahil) between now and next year, marami pang mangyayari dyan. Mamaya may ma-injure, or baka may sumama ang kondisyon ng laro," said Reyes, four days after Gilas assured the country's first stint in the world championships since 1978.
"You never know, so you have to be prepared ... Pero, siyempre, lamang na itong labing-dalawang ito."
Asked if he will stick to his 'Magic 12' if he had his way, Reyes responded with an emphatic yes.
After months of tinkering with possible additions and combinations in the leadup to the Fiba-Asia championships, Reyes said he doesn't see any changes making a significant impact on Gilas' campaign against the best teams in the world in Spain.
"Who can we put (in the lineup) that can make a significant difference? Mag-isip ka ng one player sa PBA who can make a big difference for the team (in Spain) na hindi nakasama ngayon (sa team)?" Reyes asked.
"Si Arwind (Santos) at si (Sonny) Thoss, right? So sino ang tatanggalin mo kung ipapasok mo ang dalawa?" Reyes continued as he let a small group of scribes deduce what his answers would be.
But since injuries or a drastic drop in form cannot be ruled out between now and the August 2014 tournament in Spain, Reyes said forming a pool for the world championships would still be the ideal way to go, although not exactly composed of the same players in the Fiba-Asia pool.
Still, Reyes assured that Gilas will be going to Spain not to enjoy the experience or treat the trip as a bonus for clinching the country's highest finish in the Fiba-Asia tournament in 28 years.
The Gilas coach said they will be there to win every game they play in.
"Nandoon na rin lang tayo eh," he said.
Asked to rate Gilas' chances in a tournament where it will most likely be joined by five other teams in the group stage, with the top three advancing, the multi-titled coach was defiant.
"Meron tayong puwedeng tatalunin pero depende sa draw. Ang hirap pumasok sa second round doon dahil tatlo lang (from six teams in the group stage) and kukunin," he said.
And the target?
"Get to the second round," he said.