MANILA, Philippines -- Chot Reyes' return to the PBA has created great excitement in the local coaching fraternity.
TNT Tropang GIGA announced in February that Reyes will once again call the shots for the team, nearly a decade after he left the franchise. Reyes steered Talk 'N Text to four championships before leaving in 2012 to focus on his duties with the national team.
Among the coaches who are looking forward to their match-up are Alaska's Jeff Cariaso and Phoenix Super LPG's Topex Robinson, both of whom expect to learn plenty from the more experienced Reyes.
"I can't say enough of how much respect I have for Coach Chot," said Cariaso.
"He's gonna make that team a lot better, I think. You know, wherever he goes, it's always a strong and a competitive team, if not a champion team. So I'm looking forward to the challenge," he added.
Cariaso, who started coaching the Aces in the 2019 season, pointed out that he previously played for Reyes during his time with the Coca-Cola franchise in the early 2000s.
"To be able to face him at this level is really, really exciting on my end," he said. "That's something I'm really looking forward to… It's a fun game and we're really up for the challenge, so Alaska's really excited."
Robinson, who will be entering just his second conference as a PBA head coach, said he was a "big fan" of Reyes.
The former Lyceum of the Philippines University mentor steered the Fuel Masters to a semifinal appearance in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, and stocked up in the offseason by adding Vic Manuel and Chris Banchero to a lineup that already has Matthew Wright, Jason Perkins, and Justin Chua.
"I want to learn from the best," said Robinson. "I've looked up to Coach Chot. I mean, not only with Talk 'N Text, but also with Gilas."
For Robinson, Reyes' return means he has more coaches to learn from and be inspired by. The younger coach has made no secret of his admiration for the veteran mentors in the PBA, including NLEX's Yeng Guiao, Meralco's Norman Black, and Barangay Ginebra's Tim Cone.
"Those names have really inspired me to get into coaching," he said. "I'm always excited for that opportunity kasi I'm young in this coaching world and I just wanna learn from those guys."
"That's why it's an honor for me to coach against Coach Chot and to learn from him."