Gilas enters a youth movement
After the 24-man pool for Gilas Pilipinas 5.0 was announced Sunday evening, many wondered why the composition of the team was so young. Jayson Castro, a member of the 2015 FIBA Asia Mythical team, was the eldest at 30 years of age.
“Kung mapapansin niyo po, ang pinaka matanda po ay 30 anyos lang. Dahil po naghahanda tayo para sa 2019,” Reyes said about the lineup.
However, the hype and the preparations of the team will go for naught if Gilas do not come out on top for the 2017 SEABA Championship, the qualifier for the FIBA Asia Championship.
“Ang hirap kasi kailangan muna natin malaman with finality ang sched ng SEABA. SEABA is the first tournament. As you know, the agreement with the PBA, with the Cadets we get two months before, veterans one month before,” the 53-year-old mentor said.
“Right now, minabuti natin na i-announce it, then we figure out the training program.”
Even if the Philippines has won the tournament seven times, Reyes believes that they need to go all-out for the tournament as the country’s neighbors are starting to catch up with the talent level of the Filipinos.
“We all know that our Southeast Asian neighbors have caught up. Our players, we used to send college players, they’re up against pros kaya mahirap,” the eight-time PBA champion coach said. “Now, we know that Indonesia has a naturalized player, Thailand will have a naturalized player. So we have to bring our best.
“Dati sureball ang Southeast Asia, ngayon it’s not the sureball it once was. So we have to bring our best. That’s why we’re happy to have a pool of 24.”