Mendoza: Gilas is it for Reyes

Reevaluating Chot Reyes’ coaching positions has long been overdue. It should have been done much earlier.

But that’s all water under the bridge now as we love to say. To address it now is a relief for Reyes, for the fans and for the country.

“It is very welcome,” said Reyes.

Reyes has not been known to shirk responsibility. When given a task, he accepts it wholeheartedly. That has been proven through the years.

“We want to be able to do justice to all parties,” Reyes told Inquirer’s Denison Rey A. Dalupang. “But with what happened at this conference to TNT, that plan is again being tackled by top management.”

TNT that Reyes coaches got bundled out in the eliminations of the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup. That was a first since 2018.

Before that, Reyes, who recently unretired to coach TNT to 10 wins in 11 elimination games en route to winning the Philippine Cup, had won four PBA titles from 2008 to 2012 before calling it quits.

He would soon inherit the coaching job of Gilas when Gilas coach Tab Baldwin suddenly quit last year.

Baldwin couldn’t be wholly blamed for abandoning Gilas, saying he’d concentrate on coaching Ateneo in the UAAP men’s basketball series. It’s paying off. Ateneo has just entered the Final 4 as No. 1 seed ahead of defending champion University of the Philippines.

“It’s a jam-packed calendar next year,” said president Al Panlilio of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP). “Even beyond the World Cup, we have the Asian Games. So technically, Chot will be up to his head the whole year—and that’s just the national team program.”

With Reyes’ twin roles as coach of Gilas and TNT, he is actually in a bind. It’s like seeing him as president and prime minister all at the same time.

Problems pile up to your neck.

You can hardly breathe.

Almost impossible to even sleep a wink.

Reyes knew it too well. He just yielded the Philippine Cup to San Miguel Beer, practically surrendering TNT’s two Finals games to the Beermen while coaching Gilas overseas—and then losing everything when he contracted Covid-19 in the Game 7 decider. His inexperienced son took over and he was gristly led to the slaughterhouse—naturally.

Leave TNT, Chot. Gilas should be it.