Chot Reyes is back in the spotlight after Gilas Pilipinas was knocked out of the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which the Philippines is co-hosting along with Japan and Indonesia, and along with it the outright 2024 Paris Olympics berth that the World Cup has at stake.
Reyes has placed his fate in the hands of the governing Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) after the national team dropped to 0-4 and is now part of the history books as the first host to lose its first 3 games in 41 years. To add insult to injury, supporters continue to clamor for his ouster.
“With regards to my personal future, that really is in the hands of the federation, but for me, myself, you all know I’m already retired and left this job several times,” said Reyes.
“But when I’ve been asked to come back, I couldn’t turn my back to the call of service for flag and country,” he added.
Reyes went on to coach Gilas in spurts after his last PBA stint ended in 2012 with the TNT franchise, and had his shining moment in 2013 as the mastermind behind breaking the so-called “Korean curse,” with Gilas defeating known tormentor South Korea in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship semifinals.
The five-time PBA coach of the year went into retirement in 2018 before resurfacing in 2021 for a one-year tenure with TNT, which preceded his fourth and current stint with the national team.
“As to what the future holds, it’s up to the federation,” said Reyes. “They know my feelings. We’re in constant communication.”
Reyes, Gilas, and its disappointed fans are stuck with each other for the time being as the host’s penultimate 2023 World Cup game against China approaches on Saturday, September 2.
Fans will get one more chance to express their sentiments, while Reyes has a chance to go out on a winning note if Saturday is his last dance indeed with Gilas.
Time will tell whether the SBP will make the much-anticipated decision after the World Cup, or whether Reyes will simply stop the rocky partnership himself.