MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes has admitted the hardest part of his job was picking Final 12 players, leaving Chris Newsome, Ray Parks Jr., Thirdy Ravena and Calvin Oftana out of the game. the list for the Fiba World Cup 2023.
“(It was) very, very difficult. I would like to call this the deepest cut. It’s really tough, some guys we had to take out were there from day one,” Reyes said during Thursday’s introductory press conference at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Reyes said he personally told all four players about not reaching the Gilas Pilipinas final cup ahead of the World Cup opener against the Dominican Republic led by Karl-Anthony Towns on Friday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
“I spoke personally to Thirdy. I myself called Ray Parks, Calvin and Chris. I called them all at the same time. There really was no final cut,” explained the Gilas coach.
“I was very calm after training because I told them the coaching staff was about to make a very difficult decision, but it’s up to me to break the news to them. And what I like to do is call the players themselves. This is my commitment to the players, they won’t find out on social media or by anyone else but by me personally.”
Players who made it to the Final 12 include NBA player Jordan Clarkson, greats Kai Sotto, AJ Edu, Japeth Aguilar and June Mar Fajardo, Dwight Ramos, Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo and Rhenz Abando.
“THE MOST DIFFICULT JOB”
Chris Newsome still attended Gilas practice on Tuesday at Philsports Arena and Wednesday at the Big Dome. Reyes said Ravena, Parks and Oftana would still be with them, without their respective commitments after being eliminated.
“The reason Chris is with us is that Thirdy and Ray already have to report to their teams in Japan and Calvin had to go back to Dumaguete with his family with his baby so they would have been with us otherwise,” he said. declared. .
Reyes praised the efforts of the four players, pointing out that they also deserved to participate in the World Cup, the coaches just had to make a choice.
“That’s how difficult it was. Like I told them, it’s not because of anything wrong they did or lack or deficiency on their part. It’s just that we had to make a choice. At the end, we had 16 guys and we could only choose 12. It’s really the hardest job of a coach,” he said. “It would be easier if they did something bad or wrong or if they were just really bad for the team. But no, they all did everything we asked of them. We just had to make a decision.
Pool members Carl Tamayo, Jordan Heading and Poy Erram have already had to withdraw due to their respective injuries, while naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame have accepted Jordan Clarkson to represent the Nationals after their commitment and huge contributions in the program.
Gilas will parade NBA star Clarkson, veteran greats June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar, Dwight Ramos, Jamie Malonzo, Scottie Thompson, Kai Sotto, AJ Edu, Kiefer Ravena, Rhenz Abando, CJ Perez and Roger Pogoy as they will host Group A., which includes Italy and Angola, in their bid to reach the second round and become the top Asian team to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
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