FIBA World Cup

Not the time to blame: Abando defends Chot Reyes amid boos

Philip Matel

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Not the time to blame: Abando defends Chot Reyes amid boos

TOUGH NIGHT. Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes exits the court.


Boos greet Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes at the Big Dome but forward Rhenz Abando rallies fans not to pin blame

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas’ energetic forward Rhenz Abando backed head coach Chot Reyes after another round of lusty boos rained down on him during the Philippines’ final FIBA World Cup group phase game against Italy.

During the team lineup announcement, boos reverberated when Reyes’ name was announced, contrary to the cheers showered upon the Gilas 12.

“I mean, people make mistakes, but I said, it is not our time to pin blame on anybody,” Abando said in Filipino after their 90-83 loss against Italy on Tuesday, August 29, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“You should fight for our country, we fight for it as well, so you should support him despite his shortcomings,” he added.

Abando had his longest stint thus far through the first three games — almost 15 minutes of play in a bench role — providing a much-needed 8 points, 2 rebounds, and one emphatic block.

During his first two outings, Abando clocked a total of 8 minutes, but it did not cause disagreement between Reyes and him.

The Korean league champion with Anyang KGC said he did not harbor ill will despite the benching.

“I waited for it, I was kind of frustrated, but it isn’t our time to be frustrated and complain,” noted the former NCAA Most Valuable Player.

“Even when I was the last cut for [one of the FIBA Asian qualifier windows,] I used that as motivation, set personal goals, and next time, I will use that for personal improvement,” added Abando.

“Me and the coaches know I have lapses, so those are points of improvement, and correct them so I can get more minutes next time,” he continued.

He also credited veteran Kiefer Ravena, who told him to stay ready if he got called to play.

Up next for Gilas in its bid to be the Asian representative to the 2024 Paris Olympics is the classification round, and Abando vowed that the team will keep fighting until the end. —

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