Gilas Pilipinas will have a busy schedule ahead.
Just three months after the second window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, Gilas head to Hanoi for the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
The third window — which will be games in India and in New Zealand — will take place from June 30 to July 3. Then Gilas will head to Jakarta from July 12-24 for the Asia Cup.
Window Four will be from August 22-30. Then in September, Gilas fly to Hangzhou for the Asian Games.
The final two windows of the Qualifiers will be in November and February of 2023. Another SEA Games will then take place from May 5-16, 2023 — this time in Phenom Penh.
So how will the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas fit all this in their calendar? Well, the first order of business for the federation was to align its calendar with the Philippine Basketball Association.
“The only way we can make this work is with the full cooperation of everyone concerned. Commissioner Willie Marcial assured mem the one-hundred percent cooperation of the PBA,” Gilas head coach Chot Reyes told Play It Right TV about the meeting he and team manager Butch Antonio had with the league last Tuesday. “That’s why the first step was the synchronization of schedules. I think that was very important.”
The next was to notify the league of the players they want from them.
According to league commissioner Willie Marcial, the SBP submitted a 30-man pool to them with players from the PBA, overseas, and collegiate leagues in it.
“The next is just continuously expanding the pool as much as possible, to have a lot of players at our disposal, to get players into the system and just understand what we are trying to do,” continued Reyes. “So at different times, we can field different combinations of players and we are not limiting ourselves to only 15 or 20 guys.
“I’m a big believer in getting as big a pool as possible.”
Having a big pool is crucial, according to Reyes.
In this time of a pandemic, you cannot have enough players in a pool as you don’t know when disaster will strike like what happened to the Korea Basketball Association for the last window.
“A perfect example is Korea. They just put 15 players on the FIBA map right? So when they had their problems with COVID, they were not able to field a team,” opined Reyes.
“So I think that’s the testament of having a large enough pool. That’s the only way that I can see us getting through this schedule until the World Cup next year. Having guys willing to be in the pool with no assurance that they will make the final roster and just continuing to keep an eye for the prize.”
With regards to fitting players to his system, Reyes believes that his variation of the dribble drive offense is a plug-and-play one.
“There is no such thing as a player that cannot fit in the system,” said the coach of Gilas during the 2014 Worlds. “There’s a problem in the system if the player cannot fit into that. The system that we developed is so agile, so free-flowing. The only way you cannot fit into the system is if you refuse to fit in it.
“There’s no such thing as a player that will not fit the system that we are developing.”