Chot Reyes juggles between TNT, Gilas

By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno

August 18, 2022, 8:48 pm

<p>Coach Chot Reyes <em>(Photo courtesy of PBA Image)</em></p>

Coach Chot Reyes (Photo courtesy of PBA Image)

MANILA — Chot Reyes will call the shots for Gilas Pilipinas in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers even if his PBA team, TNT, is in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

In an interview with Andrei Felix on CNN Philippines Sports Desk on Thursday, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios, also the basketball body's spokesperson, reiterated Reyes' curt statement on Sunday that he will put a premium on "country over club".

"Right now, Chot's priority is the Gilas team, so he will coach in Beirut, Lebanon and he intends to coach Gilas in MOA on the 29th," Barrios said.

The likelihood is that Reyes will miss Games 2 and 3 of the Tropang Giga's championship series against the San Miguel Beermen as they will fall within the time he will be in Beirut.

There is a chance that Reyes might coach TNT in Game 4 of the finals, which will happen the night before Gilas hosts Saudi Arabia, but him coaching different teams in back-to-back evenings has a not-so-big probability.

In his current coaching setup, Reyes is training with TNT in the morning and Gilas in the afternoon.

The SMB-TNT series begins on Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, which will also host Game 2 on Wednesday night.

The MOA Arena gets its turn to host the series in Game 3 on Friday night, but beginning with the following week, the Smart Araneta Coliseum will host the remainder of the finals.

No Nenad

Reyes will be joined by his son Josh and current Ginebra mentor Tim Cone in the Gilas coaching staff.

Notably not listed as an assistant coach is Meralco consultant Nenad Vucinic, who was tapped to be part of the Gilas coaching staff since the third window of the WCQ.

Barrios confirmed that Vucinic is leaving Gilas, but clarified it was not a resignation of sorts.

"From what I understand, I will not term it as 'resignation'. His contract is only up to August, and he decided not to renew it to pursue other opportunities, I believe in New Zealand. So it was not like he resigned in the middle of a contract," Barrios said of the Serbian-Kiwi mentor, who eventually became Gilas' head coach during the third window.

Vucinic was reportedly also leaving his post as Meralco consultant.

Barrios then confirmed that Jong Uichico will be part of Reyes' coaching staff as well, meaning that three multi-titled PBA coaches will be in one coaching staff.

"Matibay ang coaching staff ni Chot (Chot's coaching staff is strong), actually," Barrios said.

Kai is back

Meanwhile, Adelaide star Kai Sotto has returned to the Philippines to join Gilas in practice.

Sotto arrived from Australia and landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay.

Barrios said Jordan Clarkson will be arriving on Friday night, but both internationally-based ballers will likely join Gilas practices by Sunday night.

Speaking of Gilas practice, Scottie Thompson, Arvin Tolentino, and Roosevelt Adams finally joined the training session on Thursday night at the Meralco Gym in Pasig.

The said PBA stars were three of 11 players present in practice, the others being Dwight Ramos, Kevin Alas, Jamie Malonzo, Carl Tamayo, Thirdy Ravena, Francis Lopez, Kiefer Ravena, and Ray-Ray Parks. (PNA)