GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes plans to deviate from the original format for the final stop of this year’s PBA All-Stars as he’s looking instead to pit the national team’s final 12-man roster against the Cebu selection on Sunday.
The disclosure was made by Reyes during the final practice of the national team training pool on Monday night prior to heading for the week-long, mid-season spectacle that kicks off with the Cagayan de Oro game on Wednesday.
“Yeah, that’s the plan,” Reyes stressed when asked about the move. “Kung sino ang i-announce sa Friday, yun na ang maglalaro sa Sunday.”
Under the original set-up, a Gilas selection composed of Jayson Castro, Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar. Raymond Almazan. Roger Pogoy, Troy Rosario, Von Pesumal, LA Revilla, Jio Jalalon, and Allein Maliksi will go up against the Cebu All-Star bannered by June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo.
The lineups for both sides are bound to change if Reyes pushes through with the plan.
The veteran national coach will be announcing his 12-man team for the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship shortly after the Lucena leg of the All-Star Week on Friday.
But PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial said the league has yet been notified about any changes in the format of Sunday’s game to be held at the Lapu-Lapu gym.
“Hindi pa official yan,” he said. “Hindi namin alam kung may mga pag-uusap, pero as of now remain pa rin yung original format natin.”
Tim Cone is set to call the shots for the Cebu squad, but also hinted about the sudden change in plans after lamenting he’ll not be able to get a chance of coaching either Fajardo or Romeo for the first time.
“I understand I will be coaching against the final roster which I think is a little unfair to me, coaching against the final roster,” Cone said with a laugh in his post-game interview following Barangay Ginebra’s 107-89 win over TnT Katropa on Sunday.
“It’s gonna be a tough game for us to win with one practice,” he added.
If it pushes through, it will be the first official game of Gilas before heading to the SEABA, set May 12 to 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The national team training pool had its last practice together prior to the All-Star on Monday at the Meralco gym, and Reyes was elated by the attendance that was perked up by the presence of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) chairman emeritus Manny V. Pangilinan.
“This is our first practice in training camp where nakarami tayo ng full scrimmage kasi walang pino-problema yung mga players na games on Wednesday or on the following day. So this was good for us,” he said.
Just about everybody in the pool was all accounted for – Fajardo, Romeo, Abueva, Aguilar, Almazan, Pogoy, Rosario, Pesumal, Revilla, Jalalon, Maliksi, Ed Daquioag, Jonathan Grey, Carl Bryan Cruz, Alfonso Gotladera, Bradwyn Guinto, Kevin Ferrer, Mac Belo, Almond Vosotros, Mike Tolomia.
Aguilar and Belo (injured) showed up in street clothes, while not around were Jayson Castro, Arnold Van Opstal, and injured players Russel Escoto and Art dela Cruz.