CHOT Reyes has withdrawn his name from consideration in the search for the coach of Gilas Pilipinas, saying it's time for him to "hand over the wheel" after more than two years at the helm of the national basketball team.
The mult-titled coach announced his decision weeks after coming under fire for Gilas' seventh-place finish in the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea - and a day before a selection committee formed by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is to begin the process of choosing a coach for the national team.
In a statement he released through Sports5's website, Reyes, who is concurrently head of TV5's sports arm, said he is stepping aside to allow the selection committee "to do its work unencumbered, take a broader view of other potential candidates to this national job, and enable the Gilas program to move on unfettered."
"Indeed, it is time for someone else take over the wheel; it is time for me to hand over that wheel,” Reyes said in a statement.
SBP executive director Sonny Barrios said he has no immediate comment, saying he was just made aware of Reyes' decision.
Reyes took over from Serbian coach Rajko Toroman and took the Gilas program to new heights, leading the national team to a Jones Cup championship, a runner-up finish in the 2013 Fiba Asia championship and the country's first appearance in the Fiba World Cup in decades.
However, a disappointing finish in the Asiad that saw him bench naturalized player Marcus Douthit in a crucial game against South Korea and order an 'own goal' in another match against Kazakhstan has made Reyes the target of criticism online and in traditional media.
Reyes said he had no regrets after two 'difficult but wonderful years' in charge of the national team.
“May I say that I have dedicated the past two years serving the national team to the best of my ability. I have personally derived great pride and much satisfaction for the strides the Gilas program has taken – with the collective effort of everyone involved in the effort,” said the five-time PBA Coach of the Year.
“I would like to thank MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan), the SBP, PBA, TV5, the PLDT group, the Gilas supporters, and most especially my family for those two difficult but wonderful years I was given to serve my country and Philippine basketball.
"Despite the intense pressure that came with the job and the public scrutiny that goes with being the national coach, this job has always been a unique privilege – I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.”