Chot Reyes mulls ‘hybrid’ Gilas team for Asian Games
IN all likelihood, Gilas Pilipinas will not field the same team to the Fiba World Cup and the Asian Games, national coach Chot Reyes said on Saturday.
Reyes said he is mulling a different team of PBA players for the Asiad to be held from September 23 to October 8 since the multi-sport conclave will be held just weeks after the Fiba Basketball World Cup which the Philippines will co-host.
But before he makes concrete plans, Reyes said he wants to know for certain the eligibility rules for the Asiad, which, by history, perennially changes according to the whims of the host country.
Reyes said he has learned from his experience in 2014 when a Gilas side that did well in the Fiba World Cup in Spain struggled in the Asian Games in Incheon sans Andray Blatche, who was not allowed to play by organizers at the last-minute.
Marcus Douthit took Blatche’s place in the Asiad, which saw Gilas finish a dismal seventh, the worst placing by a national squad in history.
“I’ve been through this before, remember?” said Reyes. “Right after the World Cup, we played so well in the World Cup and then the dynamics were different. Biglang pinagbawal si Andray Blatche.”
“We planned for this. Pinag-uusapan namin ito with the SBP and the PBA, Commissioner Willie [Marcial] and the board. Of course, we are very thankful for the continued support that the PBA board is lending to the program,” said Reyes.
“But like I said, I approach it with a lot of caution because I’ve been here already before. We have to find out first kung ano ba talaga ‘yung rule ng Asian Games. Paiba-iba kasi every Asian Games, depende sa host ‘yung eligibility [rules].
“We have to find that out. Are we going to bring essentially the same team or we can bring different set of players? That’s the question mark right now,” said Reyes.
Reyes recalled that Gilas was caught off guard when Blatche was declared ineligible after organizers imposed a three-year residency rule for naturalized players.
“It was a huge blow. We have to learn from that. We have to be prepared for whatever the organizing committee eligibility rule (is),” said Reyes.
Gilas Pilipinas is set to undergo a grueling, four-month training camp for the World Cup, and it might be imperative that some players will most likely sit out the Asiad to rest.
“I think based on what happened in the past, should be hybrid. After the rigors of the World Cup, a lot of the players will have to rest their bodies. But again, hindi mo masabi kasi it will depend on how the players feel at that particular time,” said Reyes.