Returning national coach Chot Reyes defended his plan to infuse the Gilas Pilipinas lineup with Talk N Text players ahead of the February window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
Reyes said that ideally he would have retained the same roster of Gilas players that shocked South Korea in the final window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
Unfortunately, some of the Gilas players are currently playing overseas, particularly in Japan, and most likely won't be present for the February window.
"I'm the biggest supporter of Tab (Baldwin's) pool. I loved how the things were going. Unfortunately, nagka-COVID then nagkaroon ng Japan, nawala ang mga players," he said in an online interview with Spin.ph.
"(Pero) hindi talaga mabubuo kahit anong gawin natin for this window in February. Ni hindi nga nagpa-practice ang team e. The last time Gilas practiced was in December pa. Coach Tab wasn't here. He was in the US then."
Reyes, however, said there are Gilas pieces he can still work with, including naturalized player Ange Kouame, and pool members Juan Gomez de Liaño, William Navarro, Tzaddy Rangel, and Jaydee Tungcab.
He added that Dwight Ramos is flying in from Japan to join the team.
"We are already putting the players who are available together. Depending on that lineup, we're going to augment it with Talk N Text players. Kasi kahit anong gawin natin hindi mabubuo ’yung team e," he said.
Reyes said they only have 3 weeks left to prepare for the tournament.
He also reasoned he wanted to bring in key pieces from TNT because of their familiarity with each other and his system.
"At least ’yung TNT magkakakilala na, nagkakaamuyan na sila," said Reyes.
FROM THE ARCHIVES