THERE seems to be a silver lining amidst the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
For former Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes, members of the national team training pool should make good use of their time while play is suspended to work on the other facets of their play.
“This is the chance to really build up your strength, your stamina, your agility, and your speed. This is the time,” said Reyes in the Coaches Unfiltered podcast.
“I think, especially for the pro players and even our college players, now you all have the opportunity that you’re all been looking for all your careers, which is months of no tournament. Never silang nagkaganyan, na hindi naglalaro,” he added.
Gilas last saw action in the first window of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers last Feb. 24 where it ripped Indonesia 100-70 under interim coach Mark Dickel.
The Filipinos were set to clash with Thailand last Feb. 20 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, but the game was called off due to the threat posed by the lethal virus.
Gilas’ next matches are set in November this year and in February next year, but both windows have yet to be confirmed due to the health risks and uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.
Members of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas pool are big man Isaac Go, guard Rey Suerte, wingman Allyn Bulanadi, and twins Matt and Mike Nieto, who were selected in the special Gilas draft last December. Forwards Thirdy Ravena and Jaydee Tungcab were also added to the group.
Forwards Kobe Paras and Dwight Ramos, guard Dave Ildefonso, center Justine Baltazar, and brothers Juan and Javi Gomez de Liaño were included in the pool last February.
Reyes, 57, steered Gilas to a silver medal finish in the 2013 FIBA Asia championships in Manila, leading to a historic stint in the 2014 World Cup in Spain.
He was replaced by Yeng Guiao at the helm of nationals in 2018 after the infamous brawl between Gilas and Australia in a qualifiers duel at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
A five-time Coach of the Year awardee and eight-time champion strategist in the pro league, Reyes challenged the players to stay in tip top shape.
“I think the question is how have you used these months? And it’s the same question I pose to the executives I work with. Okay, bad trip talaga ito, this sucks, and this is really very crappy, but in the end, what did you do in those months?” posed Reyes.