Chot Reyes says absence of key players a factor in SEA Games debacle

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes took full responsibility for the Philippine national basketball team’s shocking loss to Indonesia in the gold-medal match, Sunday at the Thanh Tri Gymnasium in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The heartbreaking defeat ended the country’s 31-year reign as king of 5×5 basketball and snapped the gold-medal winning streak in the regional biennial meet at 13.

Reyes gave credit to the Filipino players for giving it their best but admitted that the Indonesians were better prepared.

“Our players played their best. Indonesia came with a very good game plan. They shot well from the three-point line. In the end, we just couldn’t match it,” said Reyes shortly after the match.

“Obviously that’s on me. I take full accountability and responsibility for the result. Like I said, they tried their best and that’s sports. That’s life. Sometimes, things don’t work out the way we played,” added the TNT Tropang Giga mentor.

Gilas shot a paltry 3-of-16 (19%) from beyond the arc while their opponents converted 13 out of 31 attempts (42%) which proved to be the difference maker.

Aside from the miserable field-goal shooting, Reyes inferred that the absence of Japeth Aguilar, Dwight Ramos and Robert Bolick greatly diminished the national team’s chances of defending the title.

“Two things that really hurt us was Japeth’s injury. We needed a mobile big man, an extra mobile big man aside from Troy [Rosario]. And that should have been Japeth,” explained the former Purefoods and San Miguel coach.

“And our outside shooting in the tournament was really bad. That was Dwight Ramos and Robert Bolick. Robert Bolick was our original starting point guard here. But like we said, things didn’t turn out the way we wanted. That’s the way it goes.”

Aguilar is still recovering from a calf injury which he sustained during the playoffs of the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup while Ramos is in the midst of contract negotiations with Hokkaido in the Japan B.League. Bolick, for his part, begged off to attend to his ailing father.

“But still, no excuses. I thought we still have the team that could get the job done and we came up short. We just need to find a way to bounce back,” concluded Reyes.

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