Chot Reyes is not about to give up on the country’s bid to join next year’s Summer Olympics despite Gilas Pilipinas’ demoralizing loss on August 27 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Filipinos’ pursuit to become the best-placed Asian team in the tournament hit a snag after Gilas suffered a painful 80-70 loss to Angola.
To make matters worse for Gilas, Japan has already taken the lead in the Asian race by defeating Finland 98-88 to become the only Asian team with a victory in the quadrennial meet.
Reyes, however, continues to cling on to the glimmer of hope for Gilas, which is largely dependent on the final two Group A games.
“We just need to focus on the next game. The objective is to get to the Olympics, so no matter how flickering that hope is, that hope is still alive. So we still have to keep our heads up and find a way to play our best in the next game,” said Reyes after Gilas remained the only winless team in the group after 2 outings.
There is still hope for Gilas despite their difficult loss to Angola, although the climb will be considerably steeper for the Filipinos. To remain in contention, it must first pray for a Dominican Republic victory over Angola.
And even it does happen, a victory over World No. 10 Italy may not be enough for Gilas to advance to the second round.
In the event of a three-way tie for second place between Gilas, Italy, and Angola, the point differential will determine the superior team, placing significant strain on the Filipinos, who would need to defeat the Azzurri by at least 13 points.
Nonetheless, a victory may be enough to get Gilas’ Olympic bid back on track, but the Nationals must also pray that Japan loses its remaining games and that no other Asian teams win their remaining matches.
“It is still alive. We hope Japan loses its last game and we win our last game then it’s all tied. I don’t know how they are going to break that tie, but in the end, it’s going to be dependent, I think, on the other games,” said Reyes.
“It’s not going to be in our hands. The only thing that’s within our control right now is the next game. We can’t worry about the other things going on,” he added.