Reyes vows to do his best as bigger battles loom for Gilas

GILAS Pilipinas coach/program director Chot Reyes is dedicated to staying the course amid widespread criticism in the aftermath of the Nationals’ shocking defeat in the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).

Mr. Reyes, who even described himself as “the most hated man in Philippine basketball,” vowed to do his best as Gilas moves forward to the bigger battles, including the 2023 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup.

“All we can do after an incident like that is to just stand up,” Mr. Reyes said after his PBA club TnT opened its Philippine Cup title defense with a 78-72 win over Magnolia on Sunday night.

“Ang daming nagtatanong ‘paano ka ba bumangon?’ Sabi ko ‘simple lang, bumangon ako, I just stand up.’ Nobody else can pull myself up except myself. My support system is there — the team, the players — and as long as I’m doing the job I’ve been asked to do, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability, regardless of what other people say.”

After the SEAG, Mr. Reyes returned to the Tropang Giga think tank but said he continued to oversee the buildup of the Gilas team temporarily handled by Serbian coach Nenad Vučinić for the coming FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers window as well as that of the Gilas Under 16 (U16) squad.

He shared that keeping himself busy with TnT and Gilas men’s and U16, as well as staying away from social media, helped him move on from the Hanoi setback.

With sights on the 2023 world meet, Mr. Reyes assured the “best possible squad” will be formed there.

“There’s already a program broken down month to month all the way to 2023,” Mr. Reyes said when he guested on the Power and Play program on Radyo Singko. “We’re just asking for patience. August 2023 (FIBA World Cup), that’s the real goal. We’ll put the best team possible for 2023.”