MANILA, Philippines – Multi-titled basketball coach Chot Reyes is ready to retire after winning eight championships in the PBA and a two-year stint with the Gilas Pilipinas national team.
"I really think that I'm done," Reyes said in a wide-ranging interview on "The Bottomline with Boy Abunda."
Asked by Abunda if that meant that he was ready to retire, Reyes answered: "Yes."
"Actually, I retired already, two years ago when I said it was my last year in the PBA, with Talk 'N Text," Reyes explained. "But then MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) offered me the job for Gilas, that's why I said yes."
Reyes recalled that when he announced his retirement from the PBA, he was already prepared to "go a different route and do other things."
"There are so many more things that I can do and I wanted to explore that part of me," he said. "I guess that's part of the evolution of Chot Reyes."
Reyes recently requested the Search and Selection Committee of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) not to consider him as a possible head coach for the national team anymore.
He coached Gilas Pilipinas for the past two years, leading the team to a silver medal in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship and a place in the FIBA World Cup, but his stint ended in disappointment after the team slumped to its worst performance in the Asian Games.
Reyes made it clear that he was not fired from the post.
"The real story is, my mandate was only up to FIBA Asia, up to the World Cup. When I was hired, it was to take us to the World Cup," he explained. "In the process, while we were building towards that, the Asian Games came and it was scheduled two weeks after the World Cup. By default, kami na rin."
"But the Asian Games was never part of my original plan. That's why my contract was extended until to cover the Asian Games," he added.
Reyes said by the time the World Cup was over, he was already thinking of stepping away from the team.
"After the World Cup, I was already thinking about it because of a number of things. No. 1, it's draining. It's physically and emotionally tiring," he said.
Reyes, who was under heavy criticism following the team's subpar performance at the Asian Games, said he informed Pangilinan of his final decision fairly recently.
"I told him, 'Boss, I made my decision. I hope you don't think I'm abandoning you or whatever, but I just think it's time to step aside and allow the search committee to do its job,'" Reyes related.
Reyes admitted that he remains hurt and disappointed, but also at peace.
"I'm very much at peace with what happened," he said.
Addressing his critics and haters, Reyes said: "First of all, God bless you, and I hope you had a better understanding a better grasp of what we as a team, Gilas, and me, personally, went through."
"But I'd like to tell them that I leave with no bitterness in my heart, no rancor at all, and it's all good," he added.