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Chot Reyes' Gilas future in SBP's hands amid failed FIBA WC home stand

Chot Reyes' future with Gilas remains questionable at the moment. Kennelf Monteza
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--As Gilas Pilipinas' stint in the FIBA World Cup comes to an end on Saturday night against longtime rival China, a period of uncertainty could begin regarding the stint of Chot Reyes as head coach.

Many fans have been mainly putting the blame on the former PBA champion coach for Gilas' struggles so far in the FIBA World Cup.

Gilas dropped its first four games including an 87-68 win by South Sudan on Thursday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum which dashed the Filipinos' hopes of making the Paris Olympics outright.

For the second straight game, Gilas fans inside "The Big Dome" voiced out their frustrations by booing Reyes during the team introductions.

Another loss to China would not just put Gilas into FIBA World Cup infamy by becoming the first home team to finish its campaign winless since Colombia's failed home stand in 1982 but also completely deny them of a chance to enter the Paris Olympics through the backdoor, that is, the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.

And that would also mean more calls from disgruntled fans for Reyes to step down as head coach and let others do the job.

For now, though, according to Reyes, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas holds the discretion of keeping him or not.

"That really is in the hands of the federation," Reyes said.

The 60-year-old tactician last coached Gilas in 2018 but made a return last year ahead of the FIBA World Cup home stand while doing dual chores as TNT coach.

Reyes eventually decided to concentrate full-time on his Gilas coaching stint and gave the Tropang Giga coaching reins to Jojo Lastimosa for the PBA Governors' Cup earlier this year.

Reyes said that his return to Gilas is a testament that he is ready for a national team call-up whenever there is one.

"You know I'm retired and left this job several times, but when I've been asked to come back, I haven't been able to turn my back to flag and country," Reyes added.

While he always keeps on talking with the SBP, Reyes said that there is still no definitive answer if he stays or not.

"They know my feelings. We're in constant communication, and that's why I cannot answer on what's the future for this Gilas team. Like what we have right now is only what's in front of us," he further said. 

However, if Reyes calls it a Gilas coaching career--again--time might not be on the team's side in having the new coach instill his system as the Asian Games is just a few weeks away.

One thing is for sure, though: interesting times are ahead for the Gilas program.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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