TNT Tropang Giga head coach Chot Reyes may be miles apart from his younger brother, Mike, but he doesn’t let that stop him from showing his support especially during the recently concluded Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup when the latter guided the KCS Computer Specialist-Mandaue to the Visayas championship.
As busy as Chot is in preparing the Tropang Giga for the upcoming PBA wars, he says he doesn’t miss a single game of Mike’s—be it in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) or the VisMin Cup.
“First of all, I watch all of his games whether in Cesafi or VisMin,” said Chot, who said he knew that Mike’s team was up against some tough odds against an MJAS-Talisay City squad that had plenty of firepower.
“I knew that it was going to be up-and-down all the time but I had confidence in Mike's team,” Chot shared. “It was grinding because if you're going look at the other team, they have much superior firepower. So he cannot compete in a high-octane kind of game. His chance was to play the game in a pace that they have a chance to win.”
With Mike working his magic from the sidelines, KCS-Mandaue dragged MJAS-Talisay through the mud in a gritty, grind-out game that worked in the former’s favor. When the dust settled, it was KCS-Mandaue that emerged with the title as they limited MJAS-Talisay’s top guns all series long.
“I'm very, very proud and very, very happy for him but I'm not surprised because he has paid his dues. He has put in the work. I hope nobody thinks that this was an overnight success because that's a 20-year overnight success. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears,” added Chot.
Helping Mike all tournament long was two of Chot’s practice players on TNT—Ping Exciminiano and Gryann Mendoza. Chot relayed that with the two not expected to get much, if any, court time this season, it was good for their careers to get some actual basketball action especially Exciminiano who is making his way back after suffering an Achilles injury last year.
“They were not only working with us the past year but also early this year when we resumed training. They were in all our practices. But they were our practice players and they knew that they wouldn’t get enough court time,” said Chot. “So we felt that it's going to be good for their careers if they get to play. We thought that the VisMin Cup will be a good opportunity for them.”
Chot added that he liked what he saw from both players, saying it is an absolute luxury to have guys who are ready to heed the call if needed.
“We are very happy. Obviously, that is going to be a luxury for us to know that we have those type of players, game-ready players, on the reserve.” (JNP)