Chot Reyes’ fate rests in management’s hands as Cone lends support

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Chot Reyes’ fate rests in management’s hands as Cone lends support
“If they still want me and still ask me to be the coach, I will continue to make that commitment," said Reyes as Tim Cone calls him "the right guy" for the job

MANILA, Philippines – His team had emerged victorious, but Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes was in no mood to celebrate.  

As he met with the press after the Philippine men’s national basketball team’s 67-65 win over Kazakhstan, which was below the 11-point margin they needed to advance to the Asian Games semifinals, the topic of discussion centered around his future as head coach of the most beloved team in the nation. 

“We are now out of contention for a medal. And that’s the story of this ball game,” said Reyes, a day after he shouldered blame for the team’s performance after losing consecutive games to Iran, Qatar and South Korea.

“The players might not be the same, the coach might not be the same but the program continues,” said Reyes. “But hopefully, the program continues because the goal now is the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.”

“If they still want me and still ask me to be the coach, I will continue to make that commitment.

“I expect to continue and complete the commitment unless management feels otherwise.”

Reyes says he understands the backlash he has received from fans in a country where basketball is almost a religion.

“When I took this job, I knew that that was part of the territory. We are a basketball-crazy nation. We are passionate about basketball. And if we are unable to produce the victories the Filipinos want, they are upset. And I get that.”

Cone backs Chot 

After those defeats, much of the sentiment on social media centered on bashing Reyes, the Philippine Basketball Association’s only 5-time Coach of the Year. Reyes took heat after their loss to South Korea, which included the collapse of a 16-point second half lead after deciding to bench naturalized center Marcus Douthit for “disciplinary reasons” after Douthit’s underwhelming performance against Qatar. 

Fans had called for Tim Cone, current head coach of the PBA’s San Mig Super Coffee Mixers and the winningest coach in league history, to replace Reyes. Cone, who is in Incheon to support the team, took to Twitter to voice support for his former assistant with the Alaska Aces. 

“I just want to say from the heart, I truly believe in [Chot Reyes and] the program. He’s the right guy and the program will bring us to next level,” tweeted Cone, who previously coached the 1998 Centennial national team, winning bronze at that year’s Asiad.

Reyes emphasized that the team had hurdles to overcome at the Asian Games, after point guard Jayson Castro withdrew due to injuries and naturalized former Brooklyn Nets center Andray Blatche was declared ineligible. 

“We had six days to practice with Marcus,” said Reyes. “We couldn’t understand why Blatche wasn’t allowed to play here but he’s committed to continue to play for national team.”

Despite their earlier row, Reyes highlighted the value of the 34-year-old Douthit, who has played for the national team since 2011. Reyes said that Douthit had apologized for what he calls bad body language and that the team asked for him to play against Kazakhstan. 

“The intent to renew him for one more year is a strong statement on how we want him in the program. He is still a part of the program if he wants,” Reyes said. 

Gilas will now compete in the classification round to play for places fifth to eighth. They can still improve on their 2010 finish of sixth.

Overall, Reyes says that the team, which rose to number 31 in the FIBA world rankings, has been successful in achieving the goals which it set out for. “We had several goals: Get back respectability in Asia and compete in world stage. We got it.” –

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