MANILA, Philippines – Chot Reyes offered his apologies as Gilas Pilipinas suffered its worst finish in the FIBA Asia Cup in 15 years.
The Philippines failed to reach the Asia Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 2007 after a 102-81 beating from Japan in their knockout playoff on Tuesday, July 19.
“Obviously, the result is not what we wanted. We’re very sorry that we’ve disappointed a lot of our countrymen, our fellow Filipinos,” said Reyes.
Prior to the Asia Cup, Reyes proclaimed their goal of a top-eight finish, much to the disappointment of fans who questioned his mentality knowing that the Philippines is ranked sixth by FIBA in the continent.
But even a quarterfinal appearance proved elusive as the Filipinos clinched just one win – a 42-point rout of lowly India in the group stage – and fell into a sudden death with the Akatsuki Five.
Japan had not beaten the Philippines in the Asian championship for nearly two decades, but that changed on Tuesday behind Yuta Watanabe, Yuki Togashi, and Luke Evans.
The Japanese trio combined for 50 points, producing more than half of the Filipinos’ output.
“We wish we could get at least to the top eight, but we were not able to get the job done,” said Reyes. “There is very little to say.”
Despite the early exit, Reyes said his wards – who are all first-timers in the Asia Cup – will only improve after going up against quality opponents, including New Zealand and Lebanon.
“We brought a very young team here and the experience is just going to make them better,” said Reyes.
“To be able to be exposed to the kind of intensity and level of play here in the Asia Cup… there is not one player on our team, the 12 players, who has ever been to a FIBA Asia Cup.”
Up next for Gilas Pilipinas is the second round of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, which will begin in August. – Rappler.com