MANILA, Philippines – Chot Reyes’ first tour of duty back as Gilas Pilipinas head coach is in the books, and it is now time to look forward to the national team’s next assignment, the 2022 Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam this coming May.
Although the competition is still about three months away, Gilas has seemingly already hit its first brick wall involving player availability.
As such, Reyes politely refused to delve into specifics when asked about the team’s composition.
“Unfortunately, I cannot answer that question because we have to sit down, and actually craft the plans,” he said shortly after New Zealand drubbed Gilas, 88-63, in the second window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers last Sunday, February 27.
“First of all, we have to meet with the PBA to synchronize calendars. We’re looking now at the Southeast Asian Games. I don’t think we will have any of the collegiate players because the UAAP, I think, will end May 12 [at the] earliest, and 19 [at] the latest.”
True enough, UAAP Season 84 will kick off with the men’s basketball tournament on March 26. The tourney will run for about a month and a half, assuming that games do not get postponed due to COVID-19 cases.
Multiple Gilas prospects are currently locked in their respective school bubbles, including La Salle’s Justine Baltazar and UP’s Carl Tamayo.
“I don’t think we will have the UAAP players at our disposal, so that’s another thing to take into consideration,” Reyes said.
Given that the NCAA is reportedly planning to return around the same time as the UAAP, this may mean that the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Reyes could return to fielding PBA players for national team duty.
In the recently concluded FIBA qualifiers, TNT Tropang Giga players were used to fill in the gaps of the Gilas roster, which garnered mixed results. – Rappler.com