Jones Cup: Tough lessons for Gi­las

Tempo - - Front Page - By WAYLON GALVEZ

Games To­day 11 a.m. – Lithua­nia vs Ja­pan 1 p.m. – Iraq vs Canada 3 p.m. – Philip­pines vs Tai­wan-White 5 p.m. – Iran vs South Korea 7 p.m. – Tai­wan-Blue vs In­dia

TAIPEI – Just like the veteran mem­bers of the Gi­las Pilip­inas train­ing pool, coach Chot Reyes un­der­stands that the young play­ers of the na­tional team will have to go through the process of learn­ing to play in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions start­ing with the Wil­liam Jones Cup here.

“It’s the same thing,” said Reyes, who is back at the helm of the na­tional team pro­gram af­ter he stepped down fol­low­ing the cam­paign of the Philip­pines in the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea.

“Even our se­nior play­ers, they went through this process. We were in that ex­act same sit­u­a­tion a few years ago learn­ing how to play the in­ter­na­tional game,” added the veteran men­tor.

Back in 2012, Reyes took over from Ser­bian coach Ra­jko Toro­man as head of the na­tional team pro­gram. Though he gath­ered the best PBA play­ers, it took some time for the squad to de­velop as a unit.

That same year, the na­tional team took the Jones Cup ti­tle with LA Teno­rio be­ing named MVP. That suc­cess even­tu­ally led Gi­las’ sil­ver medal fin­ish in the 2013 FIBA Asia Cham­pi­onship at the Mall of Asia Arena, earn­ing a berth in the 2014 World Cup.

The cur­rent batch of na­tional team play­ing in this Tai­wanese cap­i­tal, com­posed of PBA rook­ies and am­a­teur stand­outs, opened its ti­tle-re­ten­tion cam­paign with a 90-77 set­back to a taller and ex­pe­ri­enced Canada squad Satur­day night.

Reyes was quick to point at the 40 free throws they gave, which the Cana­di­ans con­verted into 31 points. Gi­las also com­mit­ted 26 turnovers, six from point guard Jio Jalalon.

“Our more se­nior play­ers, they al­ready un­der­stand these. Jayson (Cas­tro) al­ready knows this, and Ter­rence Romeo, they al­ready know this. But now it’s the time for these guys (to learn),” said Reyes.

“And fi­nally, how to play with each other and play with our sys­tem and what we want to do,” he added.

Reyes has 17 play­ers, in­clud­ing Amer­i­can im­port Mike My­ers, for the Jones Cup and has the op­tion to ro­tate them and pick 12 each game.

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