08 December 2016

Coach Chot Wants To See FIBA Schedule First

Coach Chot
Its a strategic decision on the part of the Philippine national team to check the FIBA international schedule first before finalizing its roster. Coach Chot Reyes and his staff set their sights on the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship early next year, but he wants to be careful.

Reyes said the squad wants to see the FIBA dates before finalizing the Gilas Pilipinas pool, though they already have the commitment of the 12 cadets mostly composed of PBA rookies.

"It's still very early days," Reyes told reporters on Monday at the Shangri-la Makati, where the national team formally signed a partnership with Chooks to Go.

"We have to complete the lineup first, the pool. We still have the 12 cadets, but we still don't have the 12 PBA players. So we're going to make that determination maybe in January. It's still very early days."

Reyes said it is difficult to make concrete plans or name the final pool of players when they don't know for sure how the FIBA schedule will work out.

"I want to know (the FIBA international schedule) first before we make our plan," he said.

The first tournament that Gilas Pilipinas will compete in is the SEABA Championship, tentatively scheduled in March, according to team manager Butch Antonio.

The Philippines has traditionally dominated the SEABA tilt, which pits Gilas against Thailand, Malaysia, and other Southeast Asian countries.

In recent tournaments, however, Gilas has been pushed to the limit by its neighbors and Antonio warns that the team cannot take its regional rivals lightly.

"If we don't win it (the SEABA Championship), wala lahat 'yan," said Antonio. "Let's not take things lightly."

The SEABA Championship serves as the qualifying tournament for the FIBA Asia Cup later in 2017.

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