SBP re-activates Chot Reyes as Gilas Pilipinas head coach

Choto Reyes is back with the national team (RE/MAX Philippines Facebook)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Pe؜ña

The man behind the Philippines’ 2014 FIBA World Cup qualification is back with the Gilas Pilipinas.

Coach Chot Reyes, Gilas Pilipinas’ chief tactician that helped them end a 36-year drought in the World Cup while at the same time leading the team against Korea during the 2013 FIBA Asia World Cup qualifiers, is back with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) after coach Tab Baldwin stepped down as their head coach.

“It will be an honor to serve the country again. It is a big challenge but I cannot turn my back on the country,” Reyes said.

SBP recently announced that Baldwin has stepped down as Gilas’ head coach due to a conflict with his coaching duties in the UAAP.

Baldwin is still the current head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ basketball program that is set to compete in the UAAP with collegiate sports expecting to return after two years of inactivity.

According to SBP chairman Manny Pangilinan, Reyes is the best replacement that they had in mind considering his achievements with the men’s national team throughout the years.

“Considering the high-level performance expected of Gilas, we decided to go with the coach who brought the country back to the FIBA World Cup in 2014,” SBP president Al Panlilio said.

Despite the decorated resume Reyes possesses, he will still have to fill in the shoes that Baldwin left for Gilas after leading the team to a dominating 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers campaign.

It was one of the most stellar performances Gilas had in all of their international stints, overpowering South Korea twice while remaining unbeaten in the window.

It was also during Baldwin’s reign where Gilas was able to sweep all of their games in the FIBA Asia Cup despite deploying a young lineup with no professional basketball players present in the squad.

Reyes will kick off their FIBA campaign this February and will take on Korea, New Zealand, and India.