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Chot Reyes: No shoo-ins for SEA Games


With the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers now in its rearview mirror, Gilas Pilipinas will shift its focus on regaining its lost glory in the Southeast Asian Games.

Gilas coach Chot Reyes said they will come up with a solid team for the 32nd edition of the biennial meet that will be held at the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh from 5 to 17 May.

The Filipinos have been reigning supreme in the SEA Games for 28 straight years until last year when the Indonesians shocked them in the gold medal match.

The loss was so heartbreaking that it sparked calls for a revamp in the country’s basketball program.

Reyes said they are determined to avenge that setback with all stakeholders, including the Philippine Basketball Association, uniting to put the best unit on the floor.

“The only one which is on our plate right now is when you call the guys to practice for the SEA Games on 5 May. So right now, that’s on our plate, but for now, I have to go on a plane to go to Japan for the EASL (East Asia Super League) for TNT,” Reyes said.

“A quick turnaround, these guys (PBA) will be playing on Wednesday, so it’s going to be a quick turnaround for a lot of the guys on the team and like I said, it is what it is.”

Availability, commitment and fitness are keys to cracking the Gilas lineup and it was on display in the sixth window of the World Cup qualifiers when several mainstays begged off from seeing action.

Kai Sotto opted out in the recent window while Japeth Aguilar and Poy Erram were injured and Carl Tamayo joined his new team in the Japan B. League.

The SEA Games will be held just a few weeks after the PBA wraps up the season, which means players will all be available by then.

The league also decided to push back its schedule for the next season and even prune down the conferences from the original three-conference format to just two.

But Reyes clarifies that when it comes to the formation of the team for the SEA Games, there’s no guaranteed spot.

“Again, there are no shoo-ins for the World Cup, the SEA Games, anywhere,” Reyes said.

“The first thing I’m going to do when I get back to Japan is we’re going to reconvene as a coaching staff and put a plan together.”

“Right now, the plan is in place. There are broad strokes to the plan. But the finer details are to be fleshed out as the competition comes near. We fleshed out the details for this window. Now it’s time to flesh out the details for the Southeast Asian Games.”

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