Friday, August 23, 2013

Gilas PH coach Chot Reyes will go to Africa to scout opponents

The 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup is more than a year away, but Philippine national men’s basketball coach Chot Reyes has already begun doing his homework.

Gilas PH coach Chot Reyes will go to Africa

The brains behind Gilas Pilipinas will embark on a trip to the FIBA AfroBasket 2013 tournament currently ongoing in the Ivory Coast city of Abidjan after receiving his travel documents on Thursday.

“The road to Spain starts with scouting the opponents,” said Reyes, who will leave for Africa on Friday.

He will have to make the trip alone, as his assistant coaches are busy with other commitments. With little time to put together arrangements for the weeklong trip, he is still coordinating the logistics, such as whether he will be able to get a pass, or if he’ll have to buy tickets once he is in Abidjan.

The African trip will give Reyes a first look at top teams from the continent, especially traditional regional powerhouses Nigeria, Tunisia, and Angola.

Reyes piloted the Philippines to a return to the world stage with a silver medal finish in the FIBA Asia Championship earlier this month, joining champion Iran and third-place winner South Korea.

The three Asian representatives will join four teams that have already qualified for the event — Olympic champion United States, host Spain, and FIBA Oceania representatives Australia and New Zealand.

Three qualifiers will be decided in the FIBA Africa tilt. Four spots are up for grabs in the FIBA Americas Championship while the FIBA Eurobasket will determine six more World Cup participants next month.

Four wildcards will be selected by FIBA for the 24-nation competition.

Reyes earlier told InterAKTV that his goal was to close the gap between the Philippines and other world countries between now and next year’s big tournament.

“The objective is to be competitive. Obviously, if you just think about it now, we’re ages, we’re light years away from the South American, the European, the North American group,” Reyes said.

“We have no illusion of beating these top teams but we are really looking forward to competing hard against them.”

After his trip to Africa, Reyes also plans to attend the FIBA Americas tournament in Caracas, Venezuela and the FIBA EuroBasket in Slovenia.

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