In the aftermath of their resounding victory over Cambodia in the final, Gilas Pilipinas program director Chot Reyes is eyeing a strategic move that could potentially bolster the team’s future success in the Southeast Asian Games.
Reyes proposes the formation of a developmental team exclusively dedicated to representing the Philippines in the next edition of the biennial tournament.
Reyes believes that assembling a pool of young and talented players, solely focused on preparing for the SEA Games, would not only benefit the overall Gilas program but also significantly increase the country’s chances of securing another gold medal.
“I think this is for the good of Philippine basketball. We should bring younger players to the Southeast Asian Games,” emphasized Reyes, highlighting the long-term advantages of this approach.
For the past three editions of the SEA Games, the Gilas lineup has been fortified with players from the Philippine Basketball Association.
While this strategy had its merits, Reyes envisions a different path moving forward, with a strong emphasis on developing the potential of the country’s budding basketball stars.
Last year’s SEA Games in Hanoi saw Gilas settling for a silver medal, a result that left a bitter taste in their mouths. However, the team redeemed itself with a commanding 80-69 triumph over Cambodia in their most recent campaign.
Leading the way was naturalized player Justin Brownlee, whose outstanding performance included 23 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
Reyes also advocates for a longer preparation period for the developmental team, providing ample time for comprehensive training and team building.
“Hopefully, we can assemble the team earlier and have them compete in the next one in Thailand (in 2025),” expressed Reyes, emphasizing the need for proper planning and structured groundwork to maximize the team’s potential in future tournaments.
Despite his strong convictions, Reyes humbly acknowledges that the ultimate decision rests with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.
“The SBP is going to make that determination. That’s just my opinion,” Reyes clarified, recognizing the authority of the organization to chart the team’s course.
Reyes, known for his unwavering commitment to Philippine basketball, reaffirmed his intention to step away from coaching Gilas Pilipinas in future SEA Games.
“I promise I’ll never coach here in the SEA Games. At least, I was able to go out with a gold medal,” he reflected with pride, signifying the personal satisfaction he derives from his accomplishments with the team.