What Chot Reyes could have done differently for Gilas at 2014 World Cup

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2020 09:05 PM

It's no secret that coach Chot Reyes' Gilas Pilipinas side that competed in the 2014 FIBA World Cup was one of the best versions of the men's national basketball team.

It was the team that reintroduced the Philippines to the global basketball scene with close matches against Croatia, Greece, Argentina and Puerto Rico before ending the stint with an overtime victory over Senegal.

Still when Reyes looked back at the time, he acknowledged there were things he wished they should have done that could have boosted the nationals' performance in the global stage.

"The most important thing that we could have gotten but we never got is time," Reyes said in an interview on "Coaches Unfiltered."

He said members of the Gilas squad were able to meet Andray Blatche, their naturalized reinforcement, only a month before their first game at the Worlds.

"We played our first game in late August in 2014. We met Andray Blatche, not started practicing... in Miami on July 26. Du'n lang sila nagkakila kilala," Reyes said.

"If you could have given that team more time to know each other, to play together maybe we could have done more damage."

But the seasoned coach said they had to do with the little time they had because of his players' schedule with their mother clubs in the PBA.

Reyes also acknowledged that he himself was relatively a newcomer at that level of competition. This showed especially during their close matches against Croatia, Argentina and Puerto Rico, which Gilas could have won if not for the breaks of the game.

"In our game against Argentina I wasn't able to get a good shot for the team. We wanted to run something for Jimmy (Alapag), they covered him very well. We went to our back up, ball with Jayson (Castro), the best guard in Asia, but he was defended very well," Reyes said.

Gilas lost the match 85-81.

"That's on me, I could have devised something better to give Jayson, a better chance, a more open look," Reyes said.

The same thing also happened with Puerto Rico, he added. They were close to seizing the lead against the Puerto Ricans but JJ Barea made that cold-blooded three just past the half-court line and prevented Gilas from taking the win.

"My instructions to Gabe (Norwood) was to guard the 3-point line, to take away the 3-point shot. Maybe I should have told him to start guarding Barea from the half court pa lang . . . But you can't blame Gabe. He had that 3-point . . . one step above the 3-point line covered but (Barea) pulled up way, way, way beyond the 3-point line," Reyes remembered.

"I'm the first to admit I wasn't able to get them the good shots, the good looks . . . If I have a way to take it all back then definitely I may have done something different in those end games."

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