Chot Reyes eyes at least 3 months of training for FIBA World Cup

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 26 2022 08:09 PM
Head coach Chot Reyes gives instructions to Gilas Pilipinas during a timeout.

MANILA, Philippines -- Chot Reyes wants the Philippine national basketball team to prepare for at least three months for the FIBA World Cup 2023, a plan that he said has been backed by players and stakeholders alike.

The Philippines will co-host the World Cup with Indonesia and Japan next year, and expectations are high for Gilas Pilipinas when they play in front of their home fans. 

The Filipinos will also be trying to make up for a disappointing performance in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, where they placed last in a 32-team field in China. That squad, hampered by a lack of preparation and tune-up matches, did not win a single game in the tournament.

Reyes is determined to avoid a similar fate in 2023. In an appearance on "Play It Right TV" on Wednesday night, he revealed that he has already secured the commitment of the PBA for their build-up to the World Cup.

"I think we have that commitment from the PBA," he said. "Right now, our discussions with commissioner Willie Marcial is at least a minimum of three months' preparation. Three months' training for the World Cup."

He said he has secured a similar commitment from players who can be part of the pool as well.

"The good thing is everyone is kind of preserving… There is a commitment na todo-todo tayo, buhos tayo [for] 2023," he said. "When 2023 comes around, ayan."

"Everyone, even all of the players, those who are not here, those who are not in the country, those who are in Japan, everyone is making a commitment -- three months, full training, preparation for the World Cup," he said.
The Philippines in action against New Zealand in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Getting this kind of commitment has not always been possible because of the basketball calendar in the Philippines. It only became more difficult when several potential Gilas players signed to play in overseas leagues, including in Japan and Chinese-Taipei.

Thus, even if they always want to be fully prepared for every competition, Reyes acknowledged that this is "really not possible." Already, he is planning to call up collegiate players to the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers and the FIBA Asia Cup 2022 in July as the PBA will be in full swing by then. 

For the World Cup, however, he wants to pull out all stops.

"We're saying, 'Let's reserve all the training time for 2023'," Reyes said. "Ibig sabihin, ibuhos na natin lahat noong time na 'yun."
Dwight Ramos and Thirdy Ravena are among the "very obvious choices" for the 2023 World Cup squad.

It is too early, however, to name a pool for the World Cup. Reyes said there are some "very obvious choices," such as Filipino-American guard Jordan Clarkson and NBA hopeful Kai Sotto.

"I've already said that I think the future is Thirdy Ravena and Dwight Ramos. So I think that these are very obvious choices," the coach also said. "June Mar Fajardo is certainly going to merit inclusion in that group as well."

The upcoming FIBA competitions will also be crucial in determining who will be in consideration for the World Cup team.

"We are using the time now to take a look -- who else is worthy of making that squad?" said Reyes. "It's a work in progress, we're still a pretty long ways from that, from making any final determination."