Chot stays with Gilas

Chot Reyes will call the shots for Gilas Pilipinas despite the entry of TNT Tropang Giga in the best-of-seven finals of the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup.

Reyes said handling national squad remains his ultimate priority now that they are in a must-win situation in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Gilas are in need of redemption following a string of heartbreaks in the international stage.

Since Reyes took over, they fared miserably in the third window of the Asian Qualifiers and bombed out early in the FIBA Asia Cup.

Worse, they surrendered to Indonesia in the 31st Southeast Asian Games, losing the gold medal that they have been clutching since 1991.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas pressed the panic button and tasked National Basketball Association stalwart Jordan Clarkson and rising star Kai Sotto to join Gilas Pilipinas.

Clarkson, the Utah Jazz star who will play as a naturalized player, will arrive on 19 August while Sotto will be landing on the 18th.

Reyes, however, already opened the Gilas training camp last night with an impressive cast of attendees, including national team mainstays and PBA stars.

The Filipinos will face Lebanon in Beirut on 25 August as well as Saudi Arabia in Pasay City on 29 August, a schedule that could be in conflict with Reyes’ commitment with the Tropang Giga since the best-of-seven finals series will start on 21 August at the earliest.

Game 2 of the finals is set on 24 August while Game 3 is on the 26th and Game 4 on the 28th.

Still, Reyes plans to stick with the national team.

“Gilas is my priority,” Reyes said, shortly after leading the Tropang Giga back to finals following a masterful 87-74 victory over Magnolia in Game 5 of their best-of-seven semifinal showdown.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has yet to announce any changes in the league schedule.

Should he stick with the initial calendar, either Bong Ravena or Sandy Arespacochaga will handle the TNT coaching reins against the survivor between San Miguel Beer and Meralco.

The Beermen and the Bolts are tied at 3-3, setting the stage for an all-out war in Game 7 on Wednesday.

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