Gilas Pilipinas formally commenced their daily practices for the 2017 SEABA Championship on Monday night, but as the cagefest is now less than a month away, head coach Chot Reyes is far from satisfied with what he is seeing.
“It’s hard to build any rhythm and cadence with this kind of schedule na minsan some players are here, some players are not,” a stone-faced Reyes said shortly after Gilas’ practice at the Kerry’s Sports Arena in Shangri-La at The Fort.
“We’re just relying on the players’ innate talent and resourcefulness. It is what it is. We just have to make sure we keep plugging away.”
Monday night’s practice had a good number of participants at 17 — led by veteran Jayson Castro and mostly comprised by the Cadets — but the scrimmages-rich session, safe to say, was not that intense.
And the practice session became much lighter after Calvin Abueva suffered a busted lip after an hour of workout, after colliding with Almond Vosotros during one of their scrimmages. Abueva was then rushed to Cardinal Santos Medical Center for further treatment.
“I don’t know how much lighter we can get. It was 5-on-5-on-5 drills but ‘di talaga maiiwasan yun eh,” rued the 53-year-old mentor. “Every time we have a situation like this, we always run the risk of something like that to happen.
“But we hope it’s nothing serious.
However, that incident is the least of Reyes’ concern for now. For him, there are still plenty of questions hounding the Nationals, primarily each and every player’s grasp of the system, especially now that the tourney is exactly 25 days away.
“My concern really is that these are talented players. They’ll pick things up quickly.
“But will it be a habit? Will it be an instinct? That’s the question. Do we have time? Is 10 days enough to ingrain it as habitual and instinctive in their games para lumabas yung laro nila? That’s really the ongoing concern,” the five-time Coach of the Year explained.
And those clouds of uncertainties will only be addressed once the SEABA cagewars starts.
“We’ll only find that out when the tournament time comes. Hopefully maski unti-unti, meron tayong na-a-achieve with these workouts,” admitted Reyes.