For the first time since SMART Gilas Pilipinas’ resumption of practices, head coach Chot Reyes had finally granted an interview with the media. Unfortunately though, the 54-year-old tactician did not announce any good news.
The veteran internationalist was an image of disappointment on Saturday afternoon, as SMART Gilas shockingly lost to ASEAN Basketball League club team Tanduay Alab Pilipinas in a tune-up game, 81-76, at the Meralco Gym.
“Well we sucked big time,” Reyes said bluntly, moments after the friendly, which happened behind closed doors and with tightened security measures.
“If we play like this we better not even go to Japan. We have no chance.
“No positives at all,” he added, “credit to Alab — they came in, they were very prepared. They outplayed us, they outfought us, they out-hustled us, they out-shot us. I can’t think of one positive thing in today’s ball game.”
The tune-up was a tight affair all throughout, but it was a different story come the game’s closing minutes, as SMART Gilas failed to recover from a 77-71 lag with 2:38 left to play — a deficit they should be able to wipe out, given their caliber.
And that is what irked the outspoken mentor the most — the way the flag-bearers performed in the end-game, which saw them miss shots and commit miscues from both ends of the floor.
“Sa nilaro namin ngayon para kaming ‘di marunong mag-basketball,” quipped Reyes. “‘Di kami maka-shoot, di kami maka-depensa, di kami maka-rebound.
“Like I said, kung ganito lalaruin natin huwag na tayong pumunta ng Japan.”
After Saturday’s session, SMART Gilas will now spend three days in Tagaytay next week as part of their preparations for the 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, which will start on November 24 against Japan.
With that, Reyes hopes that that Tagaytay trip will help the national cagers correct all the flaws need to be corrected.
“We better find a way to fix that. Hopefully we have enough time. Yun ang kailangan natin ayusin, even before namin isipin ang Japan.”
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