Chot Reyes on TNT, PH team coaching dilemma: ‘Gilas is the priority’

Published August 15, 2022, 11:46 AM

by Reynald I. Magallon

Will it be Gilas or TNT?

Chot Reyes (Photo from the PBA)

Chot Reyes will now have to face the inevitable dilemma of choosing between the national team or the Tropang Giga after they booked a return trip to the PBA Finals following an 87-74 victory over the Magnolia Hotshots in Game 6 of their semifinals duel last Sunday, Aug. 14.

Standing at the crossroads as the schedule of the PBA Finals and the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers are expected to clash, Reyes reiterated that the national team will come first over anything.

“Gilas is the priority,” said Reyes, whose TNT will open its title defense against either Meralco or San Miguel on Sunday, Aug. 21 at the earliest.

Gilas, on the other hand, will have to fly to Beirut to face FIBA Asia Cup 2022 silver medalist Lebanon on Aug. 25 before hosting Saudi Arabia on Aug. 29 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

It’s still unclear what will be the coaching setup for Reyes this window although handling both tournaments will definitely be a tough juggling act for the veteran tactician who has been wearing two hats as the head coach of the MVP group’s flagship franchise in the PBA and as the program director and chief mentor of the national team since his appointment last February.

If the Finals opening pushes through on Sunday, Reyes will have a very tight schedule as Games 2 and 3, by then will be on the 24th and 26th respectively, will sandwich Gilas’ road game against Lebanon.

Meanwhile, he can handle the Tropang Giga in Game 4 which will be on the 28th, a day before Gilas home game against Saudi Arabia.

During the third window, Reyes gave the Gilas coaching reins to assistant coach Nenad Vucinic due to his commitments to TNT – a setup he can utilize this window especially with a formidable roster of Gilas assistants led by Ginebra coach Tim Cone along with UP coach Goldwyn Monteverde and longtime deputy Jong Uichico.

On the side of TNT, assistants Bong Ravena and Sandy Arespacochaga can step up to the plate and take the job if Reyes decides to fully focus on the national team.

Gilas has yet to announce the PBA players included in the pool but will begin its training already Monday night in a close-door setup at the Meralco gym in Pasig City. Gilas is expected to be completed in practice once the PBA semis conclude and Kai Sotto and Jordan Clarkson arrive in the county on Aug. 18 and 19 respectively.

 
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