(Final of a collection)
Even after a baffling Fiba World Cup homestand, former nationwide coach Chot Reyes is steadfast in his perception that the Gilas Pilipinas program is sound.
Structurally, at the least.
“The inspiration has been laid. The gamers are there, the scale is there,” he advised the Inquirer on Wednesday, referring to the dual towers of Kai Sotto and AJ Edu.
Reinforcing that perception is the truth that the 21-year-old Sotto and the 23-year-old Edu are surrounded by a bevy of noteworthy gamers that may develop in quantity in a couple of years.
“If Kai and AJ proceed to make themselves out there, we have now a really sturdy, good, younger core of Rhenz (Abando) … Dwight (Ramos) who’re each 25 years outdated,” Reyes identified. “After which up and coming from [the] Beneath-17, Beneath-18 lessons: Mason Amos, Alex Konov. We have now guards out there, too, like Elijah Williams.”
After which there’s the nation’s main skilled league that continues to lend its gamers to the nationwide trigger.
“So there’s a core, after which the PBA continues to additionally make its core out there. I believe the inspiration has been laid,” Reyes, who has stepped down as nationwide coach, stated. “Structurally, we’re OK. We simply have to proceed working collectively.”
All that optimism comes regardless of what he deemed a “failure” for the nationwide squad, which missed its targets of profitable two video games within the international showcase and qualifying outright to the 2024 Paris Olympics. However whether or not or not that optimism can be sufficient for this system to be really profitable is one other dialog altogether.
Reyes felt that this World Cup was a chance to showcase this system’s strengths, particularly when it got here to having the suitable gamers for the nationwide staff. However a couple of unlucky occasions bought in the way in which.
“[Player availability] shouldn’t have been an issue as a result of everybody made sacrifices for this World Cup. The PBA (opened its pool of gamers), we bought the gamers in Japan and Korea early. However we simply couldn’t do something in regards to the availability of Jordan Clarkson,” he stated.
And talking of Clarkson, Reyes stated that the Philippines is inherently at a drawback due to the Utah Jazz star’s inability to play as a local.
“Lugi talaga tayo. The [Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas] has been attempting to speak to Fiba about it for the longest time as a result of different groups have [players who have] no [ethnic heritage] in any respect,” he stated.
Clarkson traces his Filipino lineage by way of his grandmother Marcelina Tullao Kingsolver, who hails from Bacolor city in Pampanga province. However that, together with an Asian Video games stint from 5 years in the past, was not sufficient to persuade the worldwide physique to permit the naturalized guard to play as native in Fiba occasions.
“I believe they need to enable Jordan to play as a neighborhood as a result of he has Filipino blood, and it’s very clear, after which enable us to get a 6-foot-10 American or no matter (as a naturalized participant). I believe that can actually go a great distance for this,” stated Reyes.
Chris Newsome, a Filipino-American guard who was first recruited by Norman Black to play for the nationwide staff, has been deemed ineligible as a neighborhood as he by no means gained a Philippine passport earlier than he was 16. He lastly bought an exemption in 2022, permitting him to go well with up alongside Clarkson and one other naturalized participant in Justin Brownlee.
A Clarkson clearance would’ve allowed the Philippines to discipline Brownlee and even Ange Kouame within the World Cup, offering the squad versatility.
For now, this system’s finest recourse is to maintain counting on the absolute best expertise. One thing that Reyes was cornered into doing for many of his time with the nationwide staff.
“It’s simply participant availability,” he stated when requested to simplify the basis reason behind Gilas’ issues that bled into the World Cup.
“However participant availability is [a] ticklish [issue]. On one finish, it’s going to be a mandate of the nationwide federation [or] the leagues,” he stated. “[On the other end], will the gamers need to (go well with up)? Or not?”
Of the 21 names recognized to coach for the World Cup, two begged off. Carl Tamayo stated he intends to deal with strengthening his knee, whereas Jordan Heading prioritized rehabilitating his again. Poy Erram was a part of the coaching camp in Estonia and Lithuania however was later dominated out for the ultimate section of the preparations after going by way of an extended overdue knee surgical procedure.
Then there was Justine Baltazar—a two-way ahead and a fan favourite—who turned down Gilas’ two invitations in response to Reyes.
“Participant availability will cowl expertise and preparation. [But] it’s a must to be out there for an ample time the staff requires. You can’t say that you just’ll be out there one week to go or two weeks,” Reyes stated with a sigh.
“If we began coaching at full power as early as July 25, that will’ve made an amazing distinction in our play,” he stated.
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