If Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes will have his way, he wants his players to be on board on 25 July — exactly one month before the FIBA Basketball World Cup fires off.
Trying to be patient but obviously getting pressured due to their manpower shortage, Reyes said he wants everybody to show up, including National Basketball Association player Jordan Clarkson, by next week to give him enough time to come up with a solid game plan for the World Cup that is set from 25 August to 10 September.
Clarkson initially committed to train with Gilas at least six weeks before the opening of the World Cup at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
But the Utah Jazz swingman has yet to arrive with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas claiming that “negotiations are still ongoing.”
Kai Sotto, on the other hand, showed up just a day after returning home, fresh from a two-game stint in the NBA Summer League.
Sotto’s father — Ervin — admitted to Daily Tribune that the 7-foot-3 giant was already in their house in Las Piñas on Wednesday, but the federation claimed that he is due to arrive on Thursday.
“We have a deadline of 25 July,” said Reyes, who will lead Gilas in a pocket tournament in China against Senegal, Iran and Lebanon.
“That’s one month before our first game and one week before our games in China. It’s important for us to have practice time before whoever
comes in and plays in China.”
Still, Reyes asserted that he is not yet ready to push the panic button and will just work with the players who are showing up.
“If there are so many uncertainties, my attitude is simply to work with the players who are here,” said Reyes in an interview with ESPN.
Reyes said whether Clarkson shows up or not, their preparation for the World Cup will continue.
“The Plan B is set,” Reyes added. “I have a vision of the kind of line up we want to put together, but we have a pool, so the contingency plans
are in place. We move forward.”