Chot admits deciding on Gilas final 12 ‘a big source of stress’

Chot Reyes and his coaching staff will have a difficult time deciding on the final 12 Gilas Pilipinas players who will represent the country in the upcoming 2023 FIBA World Cup.

Reyes stated that the national team will have to make “difficult decisions” regarding its final lineup, as the August 25 start date for the global basketball tournament hosted by the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia is rapidly approaching.

“Very, very hard. And I’m really, really dreading that time to come,” said Reyes on Tuesday.

“It is a big source of stress for me, obviously, because we have to make some difficult decisions. And all those guys have been with us from way, way back. Couple of months.”

Jordan Clarkson, Dwight Ramos, Kai Sotto, Scottie Thompson, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, Jamie Malonzo, AJ Edu, Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, CJ Perez, Roger Pogoy, Rhenz Abandon, Ray Parks, Chris Newsome, and Calvin Oftana are the only 16 players remaining from the initial pool of 21.

Clarkson, Ramos, Fajardo, and Sotto are locks for the final roster, but the remaining positions are up for grabs.

“They’ve done everything that we’ve asked of them, they’ve always been present, never heard a word of complaint from them, but in the end, we have to make some difficult decisions,” said Reyes.

Reyes begged for patience as Gilas Pilipinas takes time to finalize its roster before the August 23 deadline.

In fact, it was only last Sunday, August 13, that the national team was able to practice with everybody on board as previously injured stars Sotto and Thompson were able to participate with “no limitations.”

“I know a lot of people would have wanted to have an earlier announcement of the lineup or selection,” said Reyes. “I hope you can imagine, you can understand the delay that we are experiencing.”

Gilas Pilipinas will face Ivory Coast (August 18), Montenegro (August 20), and Mexico (August 21) in a series of tune-up games before the World Cup.

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