DAVAO CITY - National coach Chot Reyes said he looks forward to seeing Gilas Pilipinas engaging in a very “interesting” contest on Sunday with the PBA All-Stars, who he said have players that can hold a candle to the national team in terms of talent.
“It’s going to be very interesting because obviously, the PBA All-Stars have very, very good players in their own right. I think a lot of them are even more talented than Gilas players,” Reyes said after a quick lunch at the Pinnacle Restaurant, just five minutes away from Marco Polo Hotel where the team will be billeted.
“Nababasa ko sa mga interviews niyo sa kanila, some of them also said they really wanted to go hard to (hlep) prepare the national team and I’m very appreciative of that,” added Reyes.
The multi-titled PBA coach said Friday would mark the first time the Nationals will practice together in five-on-five scrimmages after spending the months of February and March bonding together and laying down the system.
“This is the first time we’ll stay together in hotels so lahat iyan pinaguusapan nami, even the room assignments. But perhaps, what we’d establish is just the camaraderie and finally, the first five-on-five practice tonight, then we’ll see how they play on Sunday,” explained the Gilas Pilipinas mentor.
Thirteen of the 15-man Gilas pool arrived with Reyes on Friday in Davao led by four players from Talk ‘N Text - Jason Castro, Jimmy Alapag, Larry Fonacier and Ranidel De Ocampo, two from Rain or Shine - Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan, Globalport’s Japeth Aguilar and Gary David, Petron’s June Mar Fajardo, Barangay Ginebra’s LA Tenorio, San Mig Coffee’s Marc Pingris, Alaska’s Sonny Thoss and naturalized center Marcus Douthit.
Talk ‘N Text’s guard Ryan Reyes and former Ateneo big man Greg Slaughter won’t be able to make the Davao trip. The shifty Reyes begged off to undergo treatment on his hamstring, while Slaughter still has exam in school.
The Gilas Pilipinas squad will face the PBA All-Stars at the culmination of the annual festivities on Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Davao del Sur Coliseum in Digos City.