DON’T be surprised if you see new faces in every Gilas Pilipinas practice these days.
With most of the members of the Gilas pool still on vacation after a draining Commissioner’s Cup playoffs, national coach Chot Reyes has tapped a new group of PBA stars to join the practices as it begins its final buildup for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship.
Petron star Arwind Santos was the first non-pool member to join Gilas’ practice on Tuesday afternoon, and Reyes said Beau Belga, Paul Lee, Jay-R Reyes, Alex Cabagnot, KG Canaleta , Denok Miranda and Chris Tiu will follow suit in the coming days.
“Yung ibang players kasi namin (sa Gilas) hindi pa available. Kulang kami. Pingapapahinga pa yung ibang injured players ng Talk ‘N Text. Kaya madalas six players lang kami sa practice,” said Reyes, who sought the help of PBA Commissioner Chito Salud for additional players.
“Last week, sinulatan ko yung PBA. Humingi ako ng tulong sa kanila. Kasi alam kong marami akong hindi available. Kailangan ko nang i-practice yung iba,” he added.
Asked if the arrival of the new players has opened the door for more players making the pool from where Gilas’ Fiba-Asia team will be formed, Reyes said: “Never naman tayo nagsara ng pool.”
Pressed for a more concrete answer, the five-time Coach of the Year awardee continued: “Hindi natin masasabi yun. Pero syempre, kailangang makita natin yung consistency nila (new invitees) sa practice.”
The set-up of having ‘guest players’ in the Gilas practices will be in effect until the team leaves for Lithuania on June 2, Reyes said.