Coach Chot Reyes gestures during the World basketball championships Group B match between Argentina and the Philippines at the Palacio Municipal de Deportes in Sevilla. Photo by Cristina Quicler, Agence France-Presse
SEVILLE, Spain -- A visibly dejected Coach Chot Reyes lamented their heartbreaking defeat to Argentina, noting that they really came close to beating the South American basketball powerhouse.
Just like in their game against Croatia, Gilas nearly pushed Argentina off the edge by fighting their way out of a double-digit deficit. But the Argentine squad was able to hang on towards the end to eke out an 85-81 victory.
"It's painful because the players worked so hard. I thought that we're happy that we're fighting, that we're competing against top 3 team in the world," said Reyes after the match.
He said the loss would have been easier to accept if they got beat by a large margin.
But the real consolation, he said, is that the nationals kept pushing on despite their disadvantages against their taller counterparts.
"Kung tambak, mas madaling tanggapin eh, but we're seeing that despite the fact that we're in this for the first time in so many years, it's our first time ever here, and despite the fact that we're undersized, we're still fighting," said Reyes.
"We're just disappointed that we couldn't pull down a win."
Reyes said they had to adjust with the schedule given to them and this limited their time to practice in betwen games.
"To tell you honestly, when we saw the schedule, being 0-3 doesn't suprise us," the national team coach said. "What suprised us is how close we were to be 2-1, instead of 0-3. We have a few lucky bounces here and there, it would have been a different story."
Meanwhile, the nationals will have a one-day break after their three straight defeats against Croatia, Greece and Argentina The rest period, said Reyes, will help them recuperate in time for their last two games in the preliminaries.
They will next face Puerto Rico before ending the round with a tiff against Senegal.
"A lot of our players have a lot of minor aches and pains so malaking bagay ang pahinga na 'yun," he said.