MANILA, Philippines -- While he is well aware of the expectations for him in TNT Tropang GIGA, Chot Reyes is quick to remind the team's supporters that returning to the PBA summit won't be a straightforward task.
Reyes was named the new head coach of TNT on Saturday, replacing Bong Ravena and Mark Dickel, who was the team's "active consultant" for the past two seasons. TNT team governor Ricky Vargas called it a "homecoming," as Reyes coached TNT from 2008 to 2012 and led them to four PBA championships.
In an appearance on "The Game" on Monday night, Reyes acknowledged that there are "very high expectations" regarding his return.
"But like I've always said, there is no pressure that is greater than the pressure I put on myself," he was quick to add. "I really put a lot of pressure on myself and my work to be able to produce and hopefully get the best possible results."
"So yes, I understand the pressure is part of it, and part of accepting the job is understanding and accepting the pressure that comes with it," he said.
Reyes returns to a team that still features Jayson Castro and Ryan Reyes, who were there when he last coached the squad in 2012. Castro was even the Best Player of the Conference in the Commissioner's Cup, when they last won the title. The Finals MVP then was Ranidel de Ocampo, who is now a coach in TNT.
There are also new stars in the team. The 2020 PBA Philippine Cup saw the emergence of Ray Parks and Roger Pogoy as the team's top scoring options, and Poy Erram as their defensive anchor. The Tropang GIGA reached the conference finals in December, just falling short to Barangay Ginebra as injuries decimated the squad.
Reyes, a five-time PBA Coach of the Year, said the situation was "comfortably uncomfortable."
"(I'm) comfortable with some of the players, some coaches like Ranidel and, of course, Josh (Reyes, his son), coach Bong Ravena, we've all worked together before," he said. "But the discomfort of working with new coaches and players, that's always a challenge. I always find that exciting."
As much as he is looking forward to the challenge, Reyes also warned that their campaign "is not gonna be a walk in the park."
"This is not gonna be an instant thing," he stressed. "I just want to make sure that we manage expectations, because the competition, as we all know, is very, very tough. And everyone is getting better."
"Simply changing the coach is not a magic formula," Reyes pointed out. "It's not automatic… We really, really have to work like we've never worked before."
That work, he admits, has yet to start in full. He was introduced to the team and the coaching staff in a brief meeting last week, but Reyes said he has yet to fully dive into the possible strategy and tactics that he can implement in the team.
And while he is familiar with a handful of the TNT players, Reyes knows he still has a ways to go before he can fully grasp the potential of the team that he is now handling.
"But my philosophy has always been the same," Reyes also said. "I'm a big believer in values-based, purpose-led coaching. So, I don't think that's going to change."
"The values that I believe in, the foundations of my coaching philosophy, they're going to be the same. But the tactic, the strategies, the ways of doing things obviously are going to be different, depending on the personnel I have and depending on the competition."