More than tying the series, the victory of TNT Tropang Giga over San Miguel Beer in Game 4 of their Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup finals is a vindication for its head coach
— Chot Reyes.
Tropang Giga assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga admitted that the presence of the six-time PBA Coach of the Year fired them up, leading to a 100-87 win over the Beermen in Game 4 of this best-of-seven finals series.
Reyes left the Tropang Giga in Games 2 and 3 to join Gilas Pilipinas in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in Beirut.
But their stint turned into a disaster as Gilas committed 21 turnovers that led to an 85-81 loss to Lebanon, a setback that sparked massive outrage among members of the local basketball community.
Barely a day after arriving from Beirut, Reyes returned to the PBA and led the Tropang Giga to a masterful win where they committed an all-time record of only three turnovers.
Arespacochaga said Reyes’ presence had a big impact on their campaign.
“There’s no question about it, especially within our team. Coach Chot is a big deal to the team,” said Arespacochaga, who called the shots while Reyes was in Beirut with Gilas Pilipinas in Games 2 and 3.
“It’s really a big boost for us once he came back. Definitely, a big factor for us is that Coach Chot is back coaching the team.”
Arespacochaga said their victory definitely silenced the critics, who are calling for Reyes’ resignation since Gilas Pilipinas’ suffered a string of heartaches in the third window of the Asian Qualifiers, the FIBA Asia Cup and the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
“We also know that he is under fire but we know his dedication. It’s very hard coaching two teams. We are very happy that we won the game not just for the series but also for the team,” he said.
Jayson Castro, who was brilliant with 26 points, agrees, saying that Reyes reminded them to play their hearts out, knowing that it’s going hard to climb from a deep 1-3 hole.
“I think we got the win because of our game plan and energy,” he said.