TAIPEI – Smart Gilas-Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes may be basking in the glory of his team’s unexpected title bid in the 34th William Jones Cup basketball tournament.
Still, he cautions everybody not to be emotional about this latest achievement of the team that was barely a month together before plunging in this annual cagefest that also featured national squads from the different Asian countries.
“While we’re happy, we have no illusions,” said Reyes on his Twitter account @coachchot. “We know we’ve got a long way to go and this wasn’t the best national teams. Still this wasn’t easy and so we celebrate.”
The Nationals finished their campaign by ending up with the league’s best record of 7-1 (win-loss), their lone loss coming at the hands of Lebanon, 91-72. They beat two powerhouse teams in two-time defending champion Iran, 77-75, and 13-time title-holder Team USA, 76-75.
It was the fourth Jones Cup championship for Team Philippines, counting the titles it won in 1981, 1985, and 1998.
Reyes and his team will next compete in the Fiba Champions Cup (formerly known as Stankovic Cup) from September 14-22, where the Nationals are bracketed in a tough Group A along with China, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, and Macau.