CHOT Reyes said he has been assured by top honchos of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) led by Manny V. Pangilinan that the Gilas Pilipinas national basketball program he had championed the last two years “has not been disbanded."
Reyes insisted he was given this assurance even after the SBP under Pangilinan created a selection committee tasked with “searching for and appointing the coach and a pool of players for the national men's team."
Spin.ph reported on Thursday that the move effectively removed Reyes as coach and disbanded the current team - a stand Reyes said was not the case, as per the assurance given him by SBP officials.
Instead, the multi-titled coach said the creation of a selection panel only meant that the process of selecting the coach and members of the Gilas team will be done "under a regime of broader consultation with the basketball community, which I support."
However, SBP leaders are not clear on why a selection process for the coach and players of the Gilas team has been launched if there are no vacant positions to fill to begin with.
“I have been assured by both SBP president MVP (Pangilinan’s initials) and ED (executive director) Sonny Barrios that the Gilas program has not been disbanded, and will continue under a regime of broader consultation with the basketball community, which I support,” Reyes told Spin.ph.
SBP, however, is vague on the current status of Reyes, who led Gilas to a Jones Cup title, a runner-up finish in the Fiba-Asia championships, and a historic win over Senegal in the Fiba World Cup before coming under heavy fire for the events that led to a seventh-place finish in the Asian Games.
Barrios said Reyes is "not automatically out, he's also not automatically in. For that matter, nobody is automatically in or out."
The SBP executive also said there is a chance Reyes will be part of the shortlist of candidates to be considered by the panel - and later reappointed to the position.
Asked about his own status, Reyes said: “As to whether I will continue to be the Gilas coach or not, depends on the SBP board, under whose mandate I have served since being appointed head coach in 2012.”
On the other hand, PBA commissioner Chito Salud said the Gilas program is neither "dissolved or discontinued" as he welcomed the creation of the selection panel which he said will help “improve on the gains the Gilas program has achieved in recent years."
“The creation of a selection committee will help harness and broaden the support and resources available for SBP within the PBA community and beyond,” said Salud.
"We are excited about the creation of a selection committee. It gives key stakeholders a chance to participate in a dynamic manner in the achievement of our goals," he added.