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PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – The Southeast Asian Games has seen the last of Chot Reyes.
And Reyes went out with a bang as he guided Gilas Pilipinas back on top of the biennial meet with an inspired 80-69 win over Cambodia in the gold-medal match at the Morodok Techo Sports Complex here on Tuesday, May 16.
“Win or lose, this was my last Southeast Asian Games,” said Reyes. “I promised I’ll never coach here in the SEA Games anymore.”
“At least I was able to go out with a gold medal.”
It was redemption for Reyes and the national team, who failed to win a 14th straight SEA Games gold in Vietnam last year following a stunning loss to Indonesia.
Reclaiming the gold, though, was not easy.
Indonesia brought in three naturalized players for its title repeat bid, while Cambodia naturalized five players from the United States in an attempt to defend its home turf.
But the Philippines aced both tests as it dethroned Indonesia with an 84-76 victory in the semifinals.
“I envisioned this, visualized it. But I did not make it happen, it was the players who made it happen. It was their effort, their unwillingness to give up,” said Reyes.
As Gilas Pilipinas regained its lost glory behind a mix of PBA stars and UAAP standouts, Reyes said the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) should build a younger crew for the next SEA Games.
“I think the Southeast Asian Games really is for our developmental team,” he said.
“For the good of Philippine basketball, I think we really should bring younger players here in the Southeast Asian Games,” Reyes added. “The SBP is going to make that determination, but that is just my personal opinion.” – Rappler.com