Losses to Serbia, Dominican Republic, still a win for Gilas' growth, development

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 02 2021 07:28 PM

Losses to Serbia, Dominican Republic, still a win for Gilas' growth, development 1
Kai Sotto going for the basket during their game against Serbia. from Sotto's Facebook page


Former national team coach Chot Reyes sees nothing but positives for Gilas Pilipinas despite the team losing both its games at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade.

Reyes pointed out that although Gilas missed the chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, it still won big in terms of experience when it played basketball powerhouses Serbia and Dominican Republic.

"I'm very, very happy... Remember, we were not supposed to be in this tournament. The fact na nakapunta tayo dito and we performed well (is a positive)," Reyes said in an interview on CNN Sportsdesk.

"Remember this is the fifth game they played as a team and the first time they played back-to-back... 'Yun ang 'di natin nararanasan playing in the Philippines locally, that kind of difficulty and the mental toughness required to play tough games back-to-back."

Gilas, composed of amateur standouts, first gave Serbia a huge scare before falling short, 83-76. 

The nationals also managed to play competitive basketball midway in their game against Dominican Republic but eventually lost, 94-67.

Reyes believes the 27-point beating the Filipinos got from Dominican Republic was the result of having to play back-to-back international games.

"Nakipagsabayan ka sa Serbia and then the next day, 'di ka pa nakakahinga, Dominican Republic... Yes we did not perform better in the last game but there's no bitterness for me all sweetness. Nothing but positive we got from here," said Reyes.

Basketball legend Ronnie Magsanoc agreed.

He said the final score against Dominican Republic did not exactly reflect the effort made by Gilas.

"Hindi mo makikita kung paanong kinamada ng Gilas Pilipinas ang first two quarters. I thought we were stronger mentally, physcially in the first two quarters kanya lang pagdating sa dulo ng second quarter inabot na tayo ng Dominican Republic," said Magsanoc.

"I think fatigue is a huge factor. Gaya nga 'yung sinabi ni Coach Chot na first time na back-to-back games ang nilaro ng Gilas Pilipinas."

Magsanoc added that aside from the size advantage, the Dominican Republic squad was also well rested going into the game.

"Ang Dominican Republic... they played Serbia two nights before. Tayo naman gasgas tayo in that match against Serbia," he said. "The element of surprise was no longer there kasi nakita ng Dominican Republic how we match up against Serbia."

The good thing about the games is that the Philippine national team was able to gauge itself against stiffer opposition.

"Nakita natin 'yung kakayahan natin to perform in the world stage," said Magsanoc.

"The growth we experience malaking bagay na iyon and I'm sure you can take it to heart," said Reyes. "Going to the FIBA Asia Cup I have very high hopes for this team, they will continue to develop."

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