NATIONAL coach Chot Reyes believes this current batch of Gilas could do well in international competition ‘if kept together for a longer time.’
But for the meantime, Gilas, composed of young cadets and rookie PBA players, can revel in tournaments such as the on-going 39th Jones Cup and continue their learning experience.
After all, their participation in Jones Cup, as Reyes readily admitted after the Filipinos absorbed a 90-77 loss at the hands of Canada Saturday, is part of a program for future battles.
“This is part of the program, the aim is to continuously upgrade the pool of talent, that’s why we have young guys. It’s a conscious effort on our part to expand the national pool,” Reyes, interviewed by online media in Taiwan, said.
“It’s important to have a lot of players to rely on for the national team,” added the comebacking national mentor.
The priority at this time, he explained, is to expand the pool of talent in the national pool, especially with the new qualifying format for the World Cup where teams will play home and away.
Even the Canadian coach, Kyle Julius, easily got an idea that the Philippine team the Canadians played is indeed composed of young players.
“You can tell that it is working players in, working on development,” said Julius of Gilas five.
“I’ve seen that this team is talented, that it plays tough,” said Julius while admitting he had been impressed by the earlier Philippine team that he saw.
“I’ve watched a lot of (Gilas) games from the past and I was incredibly impressed. The team that I saw was extremely well-coached, it plays real well,” he added. “I will be afraid to play against their best players.”
The Filipinos go up against Chinese-Taipei (White) in the resumption of the nine-day, nine-nation tournament where the team that has the best record wins the title.
The 3 p.m. game at the Taipei Peace International Basketball Hall promises to be interesting, more so since the Filipinos and the Taiwanese have some sort of animosity towards each other.
South Korea, Iraq and Team Canada have notched their second straight wins yesterday to share the lead.
The Koreans routed India, 92-67, Iraq beat Japan, 79-70, while the Canadians survived Athletas All-Star of Lithuania, 102- 99.