Philippines - Chot Reyes chooses balance of youth and experience for Gilas

02.02.2017 00:01 of Simone Sperduto  article read 264 times
Philippines - Chot Reyes chooses balance of youth and experience for Gilas

Addressing his countrymen in-between PBA games yesterday, returning national team coach Chot Reyes revealed the list of 24 men who will comprise the training pool for Gilas Pilipinas this year.

Twelve players were already named last year as part of the Gilas Cadets, and coach Chot was tasked by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to choose one player from each of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) clubs. It was actually new SBP President Al Panlilio who announced coach Chot's picks as Filipino fans who have been waiting with much anticipation watched intently.


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Chot Reyes chooses balance of youth and experience for Gilas

[Coach 'Chot? Reyes]
Chot Reyes (PHI) - Argentina v Philippines, 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Seville (Spain), Day 3, Group phase

MANILA (FIBA Asia Cup 2017) - Addressing his countrymen in-between PBA games yesterday, returning national team coach Chot Reyes revealed the list of 24 men who will comprise the training pool for Gilas Pilipinas this year.

Twelve players were already named last year as part of the Gilas Cadets, and coach Chot was tasked by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to choose one player from each of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) clubs. It was actually new SBP President Al Panlilio who announced coach Chot's picks as Filipino fans who have been waiting with much anticipation watched intently.

Here are the twelve names that were announced: Calvin Abueva, Art Dela Cruz, Japeth Aguilar, Terrence Romeo, LA Revilla, Jonathan Grey, Bradwyn Guinto, Norbert Torres, Raymond Almazan, June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee and Jayson Castro. These twelve, in addition to the Cadets, finally complete the 24-man Gilas Pilipinas pool.

With the exception of Dela Cruz, Revilla, Grey, Guinto and Almazan, all players in this pool have seen action for the Philippines.

Belo, Ferrer, Tolomia, Pogoy, Daquioag, Van Opstal, Pessumal, Escoto, Cruz and Gotladera all saw action for Gilas in the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016, while Jalalon has played for Gilas at the SEABA level. Wright, for his part, played for the Philippine youth team in 2008 alongside fellow Filipino-Canadian Torres.

Abueva and Romeo were part of the 2015 Gilas Pilipinas team, while Aguilar, Fajardo and Lee were on the squad that made the trip to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014 in Spain. Castro, for his part, has been a mainstay since 2013. He, Aguilar, Romeo and Fajardo last played for the Philippines in the FIBA OQT 2016.

Coach Chot believes this pool possesses all the tools necessary for Gilas to be a well-oiled machine.

"This is a combination of everything we need to run the system that we want," he said to local media. "I like its combination of youth and veteran smarts." When asked about the status of naturalized player Andray Blatche, who was curiously not part of the pool, coach Chot kept an open mind.

"Blatche remains committed with us, but his issue is his schedule in China," coach Chot explained. "We don't know yet if he's available for SEABA and in the FIBA Asia Cup."

As much fanfare as the announcement brought, coach Chot has chosen to turn his attention to his immediate target, which is to win the SEABA Championship 2017. The sub-zone has just one outright ticket to the FIBA Asia Cup 2017, and the Philippines knows this edition will probably be the toughest one in history.

"Indonesia and Thailand will have naturalized players," he said. "Now, SEABA isn't a sure thing, and we have to bring our very best."

The Philippines, incidentally, are hoping to be host the sub-zone qualifier, but they have not received any clear response from SEABA.

"We have written SEABA, seeking confirmation in black and white last week," said SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios. "We will follow them up because we need to prepare."

With the Gilas 24-man pool finally released, coach Chot and his wards have taken the first step in what will certainly be a challenging journey. This is not new to the veteran mentor, but that does not dampen his excitement or focus.

"Now the real hard work begins," he said. "We're excited, but we also want to temper that because the most important thing right now is winning the SEABA Championship."