FIBA World Cup

‘System overhaul’ needed as PH goes winless in FIBA World Cup group stage

Christa Escudero

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‘System overhaul’ needed as PH goes winless in FIBA World Cup group stage
Netizens had attributed Gilas Pilipinas’ first two losses in the FIBA World Cup to the supposed strategies of coach Chot Reyes. This time, the reactions were not any different.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has lost its chance to win the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Gilas Pilipinas failed to clinch a win at the group stage after losing to Italy, 90-83, on Tuesday, August 29. The team fell short against Angola two days before, and also lost to the Dominican Republic in the opening game.

Filipinos online had attributed the national team’s first two losses to the supposed strategies of Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes. This time, the reactions were not any different.

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes, along with several team players, trends on X on Tuesday, August 29, 2023. Screenshot by Rappler

One user on X, formerly Twitter, lamented the opportunity of having “great players” in Gilas Pilipinas, which they said was squandered by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Reyes.

The Philippines is the first World Cup host to drop its first three games since Colombia in 1982.

Some called for the return of previous Gilas coach, Tab Baldwin, who stepped down in 2022.

On the other hand, a few basketball fans acknowledged Reyes’ contribution in bringing the Philippines to the FIBA World Cup. “He simply isn’t the right coach, that doesn’t make him any less of an icon [in] the history of Gilas,” wrote one X user.

Even Gilas Pilipinas player Rhenz Abando blasted those who booed Reyes during team introductions at the August 29 game. 

‘Thank you, Gilas’

Recognition also poured in online for Gilas Pilipinas players. 

One user said Abando was “the biggest what-if in the past two games.” They also praised the performances of AJ Edu, Dwight Ramos, June Mar Fajardo, and Kiefer Ravena.

Another one even called Edu, Ramos, and Abando “the future of Gilas.”

Some users also recognized Abando’s moves during a warm-up. 

Others also commended Ramos’ “consistency” during Tuesday’s game. He shot the second most number of points with 14.

Meanwhile, one user couldn’t “help but feel sorry” for NBA star Jordan Clarkson’s participation in the FIBA World Cup as a Gilas Pilipinas player under the tutelage of Reyes. “Ba’t kasi pinilit pa (Why did they have to force it),” the netizen wrote.

“The gameplan ‘give [Clarkson] the ball and let’s see what happens’ will NEVER work,” another user emphasized.

Clarkson gave the Philippine team 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists in Tuesday’s game.

Another netizen hoped the past few games served as a lesson for Reyes, and not as a source of discouragement for the players.

The country now needs all five other Asian teams to also miss the second round to have a shot at the automatic Olympic berth, as only the top-ranked Asian team will secure a slot in the 2024 Paris Games. 

— with reports from Laurice Angeles/

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Christa Escudero

Christa Escudero is a digital communications specialist for Rappler.