Philippine basketball

Chot Reyes unfazed despite fans’ call for Tab to return as Gilas coach

Delfin Dioquino
Chot Reyes unfazed despite fans’ call for Tab to return as Gilas coach

AWARE. Chot Reyes recognizes his return as Gilas Pilipinas head coach is never 'going to be easy.'

FIBA

'I knew I was going to be widely bashed, criticized, and hated,' says Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes as he took on the job vacated by Tab Baldwin

MANILA, Philippines – Chot Reyes already knew what to expect when he accepted the job as Gilas Pilipinas’ coach, including being always under the microscope.

Reyes remained unfazed even as fans called for the return of Tab Baldwin as national team coach during the Philippines’ 63-88 loss to New Zealand in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Sunday, February 27.

Some fans who trooped to the Araneta Coliseum made known their disapproval of the coaching change by chanting “We want Baldwin!” near the end of the third quarter.

Baldwin stepped down from his post less than a month before the Asian Qualifiers and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas handed the coaching reins to Reyes.

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Chot Reyes back as Gilas Pilipinas coach as Tab Baldwin steps down

Chot Reyes back as Gilas Pilipinas coach as Tab Baldwin steps down

“When the ball game starts, I have blinders, I don’t hear much; I don’t see much because my entire focus is what’s going on in front of me,” Reyes told the CNN Sports Desk on Monday.

“I did not hear it last night, to be very honest, but my family, people told me about it, and just very honest, I expected it. I came into this job, I accepted this job with my eyes wide open.”

Baldwin set the bar high after Gilas completed a sweep of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers last year with a lineup made up of amateur players.

That same team also almost beat basketball powerhouse Serbia in the FIBA World Cup Olympic Qualifying Tournament, a promising result of keeping players together for a long period of time.

But with that previous Gilas crew broken up with several players pursuing overseas careers and Baldwin mysteriously leaving, Reyes was given the task of building a makeshift squad.

“I had no pretensions, I had no illusions that this was going to be easy. I knew I was going to be widely bashed, criticized, and hated,” Reyes said.

“I still took it nonetheless because that’s never going to get in the way of my service to my country and that’s the least of my problems,” he added.

For Reyes, creating a Gilas team that can go toe-to-toe with some of the best in the world when the Philippines hosts the World Cup in 2023 is already a demanding job, leaving no room for him to pay attention to his critics.

“I have a lot bigger problems on my plate right now than to mind the haters and the bashers. And to be honest, they really don’t know what’s going on. They don’t know what’s going on inside. If they are here inside, they can speak and comment all they want if they know what’s going on,” he said.

“Unless they’re here inside, in the very inner, the innards of the team, then whatever they say has very little meaning to me. I don’t pay any attention to it,” Reyes added. – Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.