'Gilas now can compete with the big boys'


Posted at Aug 22 2013 07:23 PM | Updated as of Aug 23 2013 03:32 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas now has a different mindset following its sensational second-place finish in the recent FIBA Asia Championship.

National team coach Chot Reyes said they have proven that Gilas can be competitive even when lined up against bigger and taller teams.

He added that his team plans to show this again when it competes at the FIBA World Cup in 2014.

“No more ‘awe’ factor,” said Reyes in Joaquin Henson’s Philstar column, The Dean’s Corner. “Now, we know we can compete with the big boys, that we can win.

“In the past, we would enter a tournament of that caliber with almost a defeatist attitude. But the homecrowd got us going, inspiring the guys to believe they can compete with the top teams in Asia after all,” he explained.

Reyes said they hope to keep their momentum going with their newfound confidence.

“With our new mindset, it’ll be different when we compete abroad from now on,” he said.

Meanwhile, Reyes plans to meet with Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and the Philippine Basketball Association to work out a feasible schedule to allow the players to prepare for next year’s World Cup.

With the exception of naturalized player Marcus Douthit, all members of Gilas Pilipinas play in the PBA.

“Even now, it will take a lot of that to prepare for the World Cup in Spain, working around the schedule of the PBA to free up our Gilas players for practice with the national team,” said Reyes.

He added that they will also have to look out for unforeseen developments that might affect their World Cup campaign.

Reyes said they might also have to make some changes in their lineup, but assured that the silver-medal winning Gilas members will be retained.

“A lot of things can happen up to the World Cup, injuries, unforeseen developments. We’re keeping our options open in tweaking our lineup but we’re definitely bringing everyone on our silver medal team to Spain,” he said.