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Chot Reyes on what Gilas’ style was under him: ‘Bara bara Pilipinas’


There has been much debate on what style of play Gilas Pilipinas should utilize on the FIBA stage, especially after coach Yeng Guiao’s disastrous campaign in the 2019 World Cup. 

But if there are two men with the know-how on world basketball, it’s former Gilas Pilipinas coaches Chot Reyes and Tab Baldwin.

During the very first episode of Coaches Unfiltered, Baldwin — who guided the Philippines to a second-place finish in the 2015 Asia Cup — opined that the Euro-style of play is best suited for Filipinos.

On the other hand, for Reyes, Gilas needs to have its own identity. Just like his time when he steered the country to the 2014 edition of the World Cup.

“We were very proud to say our style of play was ‘Bara bara Pilipinas.’ That’s the Gilas style of basketball,” he said during last Thursday’s episode of Coaches Unfiltered, presented by SMART Sports and supported by Mighty Sports and Choi Garden.

The five-time PBA Coach of the Year shared that having no identity at all was Gilas’ main weapon back then.

That element of surprise kept Gilas’ games close in the 2014 edition of the global meet, where it netted one win.

“It’s tough to say because I’ve always felt that Euroball is fantastic,” he opined. “But if we went to the Worlds playing Euroball, there was no way we could beat or compete with the European teams. I don’t think we could out-Euroball the Croatians or the Serbians or the Spaniards.

“We cannot out-Euroball Europeans who invented that style of play.”

Though it would take a lot of time in strategy and game-planning, Reyes is a firm believer in adjusting to the opponent or the situation.

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“The key is always to play a style or a system. Perhaps you’re getting some principles from Euroball, some principles from American basketball, so on and so forth. But it has to be fit for your team, tailored towards the opposition that you’re playing,” shared Reyes, a master of the dribble-drive system.

Reyes recalled that back in 2013, Gilas held a training camp in Lithuania. One of the coaches that helped in the sessions was Lithuanian mentor Kestutis Kemzura.

During the tail-end of their camp, Kemzura said that Gilas’ style was very similar to the European style.

Maybe Reyes borrowed a few concepts, but mostly, he said that it was the Philippine-style of play — ‘Bara bara Pilipinas.’

“It was similar to Euro basketball, but again, from a different perspective or maybe a few years later, it’s a different style of basketball. You create your own style and you make sure it is for to your system, it’s fit to what your players can do, and it is tailored towards the competition that you’re facing.”

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