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Coach Chot: ‘We should be going to Madrid’

Rodneil Quiteles
Coach Chot: ‘We should be going to Madrid’
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes is happy with the win versus Senegal but laments missed opportunities to advance to next round in the FIBA World Cup

SEVILLE, Spain – The Philippines finally won one.

After 40 years of waiting and countless versions of the national team, this version of Gilas Pilipinas led by head coach Chot Reyes finally bagged a victory for the country after they narrowly beat Senegal, 81-79, Thursday, September 4, at the Palacio Municipal de Deportes.

While their nation on the other side of the world celebrated, Reyes’ feelings were mixed.

“The feeling, of course is elation, but also a lot of panghihinayang (regret) because we should be going to Madrid,” said Reyes to a group of reporters after the game.

Reyes recalled the games against Croatia, Argentina, and Puerto Rico. Games the Philippines could’ve won.

“One lucky bounce here, one lucky bounce there. Croatia game, Jeff’s last shot, Jayson’s last opportunity against Argentina that had they been converted then we would be going to Madrid now. There’s just a tinge of regret with that.

“We lost four games by a total of 20 points. You take away that last three point shot against Greece, when the game was over. We lost 4 games by 20 points, that’s one possession, practically,” he added.

The five-time PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) coach of the year is proud of what the team accomplished despite their inexperience.

“In the end game we froze. We were freezing, not because we’re chokers, they’re not just used to it.”

Reyes pointed out that although they are veterans, it’s a different game altogether when you carry your country’s name across your chest.

“These players they’re all superstars, they’re all main players in their teams back home in the PBA, in their commercial teams, in their professional teams. But you have a professional team here (points to chest), it’s different if you have a Philippine team here. It’s much, much heavier.”

For now, the team will make assessments and adjustments and focus its attention to the upcoming Asian Games that tip off on September 19 in Incheon, South Korea. –

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