By Cip D.C. Cabrera
Gilas Pilipinas’ current head coach Chot Reyes. (Photo courtesy of Daily Guardian)
MANILA — Amid a looming Senate probe on the lackluster performance of the men’s national basketball team and the issue of forming a ‘super team’ that would don the country’s colors in international competitions, the Samahan ng Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) also need to resolve the concern of appointing a head coach to mentor Gilas Pilipinas in the upcoming FIBA World Cup Asian qualifiers.
In a statement, SBP executive director Sonny Barrios disclosed that the head coaching position for the national team in the forthcoming tourney is still up in the air and it might depend on the status of Gilas current head coach Vincent ‘Chot’ Reyes with Talk ‘n’ Text (TNT) Tropang Giga which is presently battling it out with the Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots in their best-of-seven semifinals series in this year’s ongoing Philippine Basketball Association (PBA)’s Philippine Cup conference.
Barrios noted that there is a big possibility that Reyes and Tropang Giga would advance to the finals of the conference as they enjoy a commanding 3-1 lead after winning Game 4 of the series. And with that in the offing, the all-Filipino finals might be held within the third to last week of August thus clashing with Gilas’ schedule for the FIBA World Cup qualifiers on the 25th and 29th of this month.
“Chot and I haven’t (really) talked about it yet. Maybe he doesn’t want to be presumptuous about it,” the SBP executive and also its spokesperson had enthused earlier.
Despite the uncertainty, though, the SBP still has a lot of veteran tacticians to choose from, even as another seasoned coach Tim Cone has already joined the Gilas sidelines, completing a formidable staff for a star-studded lineup that is bannered by National Basketball Association stalwart Jordan Clarkson, Kai Sotto, Dwight Ramos, and Thirdy Ravena.
There is also a possibility of Serbian coach Nenad Vucinic mentoring the national team as he had called the shots for Gilas when it campaigned against New Zealand and India during the last window of the FIBA qualifiers last July.
Back in 2020, too, long-time deputy Jong Uichico is a fourth possibility as he has been a mainstay in the national team program and led the team in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers then.
However, with the Gilas pool yet to be completed, Barrios said they are focusing on their task at hand so since (they) haven’t reached the subject of who will be coaching the Nationals, they would rather be focusing, he said, on the formation of the what has been dubbed as the country’s ‘super team’. (ai/mtvn)