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Marcial: Chot is a good soldier

CHOT Reyes, who stepped aside as Gilas Pilipinas coach recently, earns the respect of PBA commissioner Willie Marcial. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FIBA

Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Willie Marcial tips his hat off to Chot Reyes despite Gilas Pilipinas’ fruitless run in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Marcial said Reyes should still be credited for Gilas’ strong finish in which they beat powerhouse China, 96-75, in their final match in the prestigious 32-nation tournament.

With that, the Filipinos were able to improve their performance after going winless in the previous edition of the World Cup in China in 2019.

“Coach Chot is a good soldier. He will do what needs to be done but it just so happened his fate wasn’t kind to him,” Marcial said during the unveiling of the FIBA World Cup championship ball last Monday at the Mall of Asia Music Hall.

“From 32nd place in 2019, we rose to 24th and we’re the third best Asian country in the World Cup. It’s still a good job.”

After suffering an avalanche of criticisms, Reyes “stepped aside” as Gilas coach in the aftermath of their World Cup campaign.

With Reyes gone, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is scrambling to appoint a new Gilas coach with barely three weeks left before the 19th Asian Games unfold in Hangzhou, China.

Marcial said the PBA remains committed and will help the federation in forming the best team possible under a competent head coach.

“Me and SBP president Al Panlilio are set to meet this week. We have to do it ASAP because the Asian Games are only two weeks from now,” Marcial said.

“Whatever they need, the PBA will give it to them.”

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