Chot Reyes: ‘It’s not going to be easy’

Published February 16, 2021, 1:36 PM

by Jonas Terrado

Photo from FIBA

Chot Reyes prefers to temper expectations than assuring instant success after his unexpected return as coach of the TNT Tropang Giga.

The Tropang Giga decided to bring back the winningest coach in franchise history in a bid to end the team’s long PBA title drought, but Reyes said things won’t be as easy as it looks.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Reyes said in Monday’s episode of The Game. “I know a lot of fans are saying a lot of good things, but this is not going to be a walk in the park, it’s not going to be an instant thing.”

TNT hasn’t won a championship since the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup and many see Reyes as the missing link in the team’s quest to bring back the glory days.

Reyes is responsible for four of TNT’s seven championships in the PBA, namely the 2009, 2011 and 2012 Philippine Cup and the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup.

Last season’s Philippine Cup saw TNT falling short in the Finals, losing in five games to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel inside the PBA bubble in Pampanga under the unique coaching arrangement of Bong Ravena and active consultant Mark Dickel.

Reyes will inherit a talented ballclub led by Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, RR Pogoy, Ray Parks Jr., Poy Erram and Simon Enciso. TNT also shore up its roster with the signing of Dave Marcelo and Ping Exciminiano from the free agent market.

“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,” he said. “So you know, simply changing the coach is not a magic formula, it’s not an automatic. You really, really have to work like we’ve never worked before.”

Reyes said the offer wasn’t something he expected, given that the multi-time PBA Coach of the Year has not called the shots on the domestic front since 2012 and his last coaching gig was with Gilas Pilipinas in 2018.

“It wasn’t an easy decision in the first place because No. 1 when Chairman MVP (TNT owner Manny V. Pangilinan) called it was completely unexpected. I absolutely had no inkling, I had no idea,” he said.

“We’ve always been talking, we always kept in touch but when he called a couple of Sundays ago to bring that up, I said ‘Boss, I think you need to give me a couple of days because I didn’t really expect this.’”