Gilas head coach Chot Reyes made headlines during the first week of August with his statement for the coming 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers fourth window.
“Inulit na naman ni coach Tim (Cone) kagabi yun. We don’t really need to win the game against Lebanon. It’s good for PR, it’s gonna be good for me, I guess, to my haters but for the whole team objective not necessarily,” said Reyes on August 7 after the PBA press conference, referring to the Gilas coaches huddle the day before.
Two days after that, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director and spokesperson Sonny Barrios clarified that winning is always a goal of the national team.
And on Friday, no less than SBP president Al Panlilio reiterated that call.
“We always want to win every game that’s why we’re trying to bring the best talent we can,” he said.
SBP has called up Filipino-American 2020-21 NBA sixth man of the year Jordan Clarkson alongside Kai Sotto for the fourth window.
Also included in the pool are PBA players in Magnolia’s Jio Jalalon and Ian Sangalang; Ginebra’s Japeth Aguilar, Arvin Tolentino, and Scottie Thompson; Meralco’s Raymond Almazan, Allein Maliksi, and Chris Newsome; Northport’s Robert Bolick and Jamie Malonzo; NLEX’s Kevin Alas and Calvin Oftana; and free agent Roosevelt Adams.
San Miguel’s June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez were also part of the pool but with the Beermen advancing to the Philippine Cup finals, they will not be available.
Completing the 24-man pool are Kiefer Ravena, Thirdy Ravena, Dwight Ramos, Ray Parks, Carl Tamayo, Kevin Quiambao, and Francis Lopez.
Panlilio said the main focus will always be the upcoming World Cup which the Philippines will co-host with Japan and Indonesia.
But along the way, he also wants to see Gilas pick up victories.
“The end goal is next year, obviously along the way we want to continue winning and be competitive so there’s always a chance for us to become better,” said the SBP president.
“It is a developmental phase but at the same time, obviously, we always want to win.”
Of course, winning is not always a guarantee but Panlilio assures one thing.
“We want to try our very best.”