On the eve of his 54th birthday, Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes received a perfect birthday present. For the first time since Gilas’ office re-opened its doors last Thursday, the FIBA Asia Cup XII was finally complete Monday night.
“Of course, I’m very happy but not just because Calvin [Abueva] is here. Everyone came here for the first time,” said Reyes as Abueva made his return to Gilas practice.
“First time we got all twelve guys for the FIBA Asia team.”
During the day’s session, the 23-man pool was separated right between the halfcourt line. On one end was the FIBA Asia Cup team while on the other was the Southeast Asian Games squad.
With Chot, Tim Lewis, and Josh Reyes handling the Asia Cup side, the five-time coach of the year liked the output of the players. However, with just eight days remaining before the tournament, he felt that what they’re doing is like cramming for an exam.
“I really like what I’m saying but the problem is, we don’t have that much time. Para tayong nag-cracram for exams. We are trying to put everything in in just one or two days,” he said.
Still, the veteran tactician was just relieved to finally have the entire team under one roof. And just like his birthday wish, he just hopes that they can represent the country well come the August 9 when the Philippines’ Asia Cup campaign kicks off.
“You guys know what my birthday wish is. Every year it’s always been the same thing, make the best representation possible for the country.”
And coach Chot’s night ended with the entire team surrounding him, serenading him with the birthday song.
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