Kiefer Ravena throws full support for embattled Gilas head coach Chot Reyes

Kiefer Ravena hopes that from now on, the Philippines would show a united stand in support of Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup.

Ravena made the appeal to supporters as head coach Chot Reyes continued to face jeers from the home crowd, resentment that reached boiling point during the Philippines’ 90-83 loss to Italy in Group A on Tuesday, August 29 at the Araneta Coliseum.

The controversial Reyes was booed during the team introductions, adding to his chilly relationship with fans who have called for his ouster since resuming coaching duties for the national team last year.

The Filipinos had a strong start, ending the first quarter with a small advantage before crumbling in the middle quarters, finishing the group stage with a 0-3 record.

“We need to flip the script and use this crowd as an advantage instead of it causing us to lose focus,” said Ravena in Tagalog.

“At the end of the day, we thank everyone who is supporting us. But I hope from this stage on, since [our campaign] is near its end, just support us.”

Gilas Pilipinas needs all the aid it can get, especially from its home fans, as it approaches the classification round in the hopes of gaining an outright slot in the Paris Olympics by finishing first in Asia.

Taking its 0-3 record into the classification phase, the Philippines must defeat South Sudan and China to at least get a shot at competing in the Summer Games.

“We’ll fight. You have to use this crowd as an advantage, not a disadvantage. That is the reason why we brought this event here,” said Ravena.

Ravena, who, like Reyes, is frequently chastised, threw his full support behind his embattled mentor.

“I’m going to play for my coach ’til the wheels fall off. I have to lead by example, like Japeth and most of the guys who have been here.”

Following a one-day break, Gilas Pilipinas will play their first classification match at the same time and venue on Thursday, August 31.

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