GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes wants a national squad that is quick, can shoot impressively from the outside and, more importantly, is loaded with role players.
“We don’t have any size advantage. So it’s gonna be a combination of speed and outside shooting, but (the team) has to be very versatile,” Reyes said after emerging from a meeting with PBA commissioner Chito Salud to discuss the formation and preparation of the team to the Fiba-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship.
"And it’s going to be a team that has role players," Reyes was quick to add.
Reyes declined to name his choices to fill his Fiba-Asia roster pending the final schedule of the PBA’s Governors Cup, stressing only that members of his Jones Cup-winning team as well as the playrs who saw action in Dubai early this month will surely be part of the pool.
But much more than choosing the players, the bigger task is to turn the team into a cohesive unit going into the Asian showpiece which Manila will host in August.
“Having the best players is only 50 percent because the other 50 percent is to jell them into a great team, not just a collection of great players," said the multi-titled coach.
“For now, my working orders are once a week practice, until the players become available from now till August 1. Kaya ang malaking bagay is yung third conference adjustment.”
While Reyes declined to name his choices, San Mig Coffee’s bruising forward Jean Marc Pingris has already been released to Gilas on Reyes' request, while cadet pool member Greg Slaughter and Petron’s rookie center June Mar Fajardo are being eyed to bolster the frontline.
On the other hand, Salud said he’ll just be finalizing the adjustments to the third conference schedule to give Gilas Pilipinas enough time to prepare for the tournament serving as the Asian qualifier for the world basketball championships in Spain next year.
Salud assured that the Fiba-Asia tournament ranks high among the league's priorities this year.
“Maganda ang usapan namin at nagkaliwanagan kung saan patungo ang direksyon ng pagpapalakas ng national team,” Salud said.
"Pinaliwanag ko nga kanina na the PBA only wants a third conference that will be helpful in strengthening the country’s chances to make the top three, if not the outright championship, in the coming Fiba Asia."