Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes vowed that the national team will go all-out when it faces FIBA Asia Cup 2022 silver medalist Lebanon on the road in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers on Aug. 25.
Reyes is set to parade a more formidable lineup that will feature some of the top players in the PBA along with the core players from the Asia Cup and NBA star Jordan Clarkson.
Despite a talent-laden crew, the national team mentor wanted to manage the expectations for the team.
“We already know for the coming FIBA Asia (qualifiers for World Cup fourth window) that there will be more PBA players available. I think we will have a stronger roster of players,” said Reyes.
“But again sasabihin na naman ng mga tao nagpapalusot ako and excuse, but we will only start practice on August 15 or 16 so we have what? One week practice before our game against Lebanon who is the Asia Cup silver medalist,” he added.
Unlike in the previous window and in the Asia Cup where Reyes had to rely on some of the collegiate standouts, Gilas, this time, will have the players from 10 PBA teams which will not be playing in the Philippine Cup finals at its disposal.
NLEX, Barangay Ginebra, NorthPort, Converge, Blackwater, Terrafirma, Rain or Shine and Phoenix are already eliminated in the PH Cup while Meralco, San Miguel, TNT and Magnolia are still playing in the semifinals.
“I’m just asking for patience, support, and understanding of everyone na maski hindi masyadong maganda ‘yung performance natin, we’re still going all out sa Lebanon talagang gusto nating bumawi,” said Reyes.
“But please understand that we are going there with barely seven, eight days of practice only. I’d rather have that than nothing at all diba. At least meron tayong players, meron tayong panlaban sa Lebanon,” he added.
Although still facing the same old problems – the lack of preparation time for the August window and the availability of players for the November window – Reyes was optimistic that the program is taking the steps towards the right direction.
“While we think we have a pretty good solid lineup of players, we’re still going to suffer from that lack of practice but it’s fine. Tiis-tiisin lang natin ‘yung ngayon, ‘yung mga problema natin currently,” said Reyes
“Tinatapos lang ng lahat ng liga lahat ng schedules now so that in 2023, mayroon tayong solid three months na preparation and by then, I can say na we will have the best team.”