THE clock is ticking for Smart Gilas 2.0 as Chot Reyes waits for the result of a meeting between slotman Sonny Thoss and Alaska team owner Wilfred Uytengsu before finalizing his lineup for the Fiba Asia Cup in Tokyo next month in time for the deadline set by organizers.
Thoss' availability will have a big impact on Gilas' lineup for the September 14-22 tournament since the 6-7 slotman is the best option as naturalized player Marcus Douthit's chief back-up -- a role the Alaska star played so well in the national team's successful championship run in the Jones Cup.
"The entire make-up of the team will depend on whether Sonny will be there or not," Reyes told Spin.ph on Friday morning. "There are a lot of combinations to consider, pero lahat 'yon magde-depende kung andyan si Sonny because he plays a crucial role in the team."
Thoss has made known his desire to join Gilas in the Tokyo trip but Alaska has put its foot down, insisting that all its players stay home and focus on the team's twice-a-day practices as the Uytengsu franchise attempts to rebound from a disappointing 10-22 (win-loss) campaign last season.
LA Tenorio, another Alaska star who played for the title-winning Jones Cup side, has been packaged in a proposed three-team trade that is left hanging by protracted negotiations between Global Port and Ginebra over another key compotent of the deal, JV Casio.
Alaska insiders said Thoss is set to meet on Friday with Uytengsu, who in no uncertain terms has told the coaching staff that he wants all the players to concentrate on the buildup for the coming season.
Although the stand he is taking may be an unpopular one, Uytengsu feels Alaska has bent backwards a lot of times for the national teams in the past and it is time for other ballclubs "to step up" now that the Aces can't afford to loan their players to the Tokyo-bound team, insiders said.
Reyes said he will finalize his 14-man lineup at the end of the Thoss-Uytengsu meeting. The national coach said he has until the end of business hours on Friday to submit his lineup to organizers.
He expects the core of the Jones Cup team to make the lineup including Tenorio, who has bared his intention to join the trip regardless the result of the trade.
However, insiders said a contract that allows Tenorio to join the national team was only made between the player and Alaska and may not be applicable in the event he is traded to Ginebra.