Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes is so accustomed to adversity that he has learned to adapt on the fly.
Reyes, who celebrated his 60th birthday prior to the start of the China pocket tournament, is using the 2023 Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament as an opportunity to experiment with the point guard position.
With chief playmaker Scottie Thompson still recovering metacarpal fracture in his shooting hand which he sustained during Gilas’ training camp in Europe, the 9-time PBA champion mentor has shifted CJ Perez to the point guard position to see if he can handle the responsibility.
“We are still week by week with Scottie, depending how his healing progresses,” said Reyes during an interview with Noli Eala in the former PBA commissioner Noli Eala’s Power and Play sports program.
Reyes admitted that giving Perez the playmaking chores is a contingency plan in the event that Thompson won’t be fully recovered in time for the upcoming 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“Remember, he (Thompson) is our starting point guard. Right now we are preparing for eventuality in case he doesn’t make it so we are trying CJ to be the backup,” explained Reyes.
The Philippines’ 75-63 victory over Senegal on Sunday night was sweet revenge against the same team that dealt the country a 72-64 beating just two days prior.
AJ Edu led Gilas with 15 points, while Perez added 14 and provided plenty of intangibles for the smaller Filipinos.
Gilas will wrap up their campaign against Iran on Monday night and immediately head back to Manila.