Reyes wants Gilas to build chemistry in Jones Cup
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine men's basketball team left the country for Taipei today for the annual William Jones Cup, an international tournament that invites mostly teams from Asia and North America.
They will play teams from the likes of Jordan, Iran, Lebanon and the USA in the 8-day tournament that starts Saturday, August 18. Natashya Gutierrez reports.
The journey begins for the men's national basketball team.
Smart-Gilas wants to make it to the 2014 FIBA Championships in Spain, but there are obstacles to overcome along the way.
The newly formed team just started practicing together two weeks ago but Saturday, they face Jordan in Taipei for the annual Jones Cup.
Head coach Chot Reyes expects to do well, but says the team has no illusions given the top caliber competition they will face.
CHOT REYES: While we're looking forward to do well, maybe finish in the top 3, our biggest priority is to learn, to learn about each other and for me personally to learn about the players.
Reyes knows the team's lack of preparation and height are a weakness, but thinks their versatility and passion to represent the country will help.
The tournament will show Reyes who can fit in his style of play.
Gabe Norwood, who is the current team captain, is optimistic.
He is impressed with the team chemistry so far.
GABE NORWOOD: I think it’s going very well, we got a good group of guys, you know, everybody has a good attitude, positive attitude and we wanna learn.
Reyes puts a high premium on team building, and sees the trip as a chance for the team to bond.
On their last evening practice before Taipei, he introduces his players to a song to inspire them, which he handpicks himself.
The song, 'Sige Lang' by rapper Quest, is the team's new theme song, with its nationalistic lyrics.
JOSE VILLANUEVA III: The chorus goes, Walang imposible, sige lang ng sige, abot mo ang mundo malapit o malayo, sama sama tayo, hanggang sa dulo ano man ang pagsubok hindi susuko. Alam kong kaya mo, sige lang sige, sige lang sige, walang imposible.
With these words in mind, the Philippine team is poised to take a stab at the world championship.
A long shot, but not impossible.
Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Manila. - Rappler.com