IF asked, national coach Chot Reyes wants to be given a free hand in picking the PBA players that will make up the Gilas Pilipinas squad bound for the Fiba World Cup in Spain next year.
“Syempre (kung ako ang tatanungin) gusto ko free hand. That’s it. Free hand means free hand,” said Reyes, adding a full three-month preparation would be ideal for a team that would take on the world's best from August 30 to September 14 in Spain.
The Gilas coach spoke two days before Commissioner Chito Salud and the entire board leave for Sydney for their annual planning session, where high on the agenda will be on how the PBA can work the league's schedule next season around Gilas' stint in the World Cup.
Reyes is set to meet with Salud upon the delegation's arrival from Sydney to discuss what concessions Gilas can get in its buildup for the Spain showpiece.
The multi-titled coach admitted that he's leaning toward maintaining the core of the Gilas team that finished second behind Iran in the last Fiba-Asia championships in Manila, but made it clear he wants more latitude in picking his players.
“Yes. Yun ang kailangan,” he said.
For the Manila tournament, the PBA mandated member teams to lend one player each to Gilas but at the same time gave ballclubs the freedom to lend more if they so choose.
Reyes likewise bared that he is already working on scheduling friendlies againt top teams prior to the World Cup and is only waiting for the PBA-approved schedule before sealing deals with nations like Spain, Argentina, Dominican Republic, and Angola.
“Marami (na kaming nakakausap na national teams). Spain, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Angola. Marami eh. But I don’t want to move forward until may final schedule na,” said the only five-time PBA Coach of the Year awardee.
“Nakakahiya naman, makikipag-usap tayo sa kanila … tayo nga mismo hindi pa sigurado di ba?” he added.
Reyes also discussed a range of topics about Gilas, including his plan to work for the naturalization of two more players for the national team program, in this interview.
See video of the full Spin.ph interview with Reyes: