By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
TNT Tropang Giga will face a serious handicap in Games 2 and 3 of the PBA PHL Cup Finals.
Due to his commitment to the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team as the head coach, Chot Reyes won’t be able to call the shots for the Tropang Giga in Games 2 & 3 in the upcoming 2022 PBA Philippine Cup grand finals.
TNT just punched a ticket to the finals and will square off against powerhouse San Miguel Beermen in a best-of-seven series thriller.
It was Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas’ (SBP) president Al Panlilio who announced the development regarding Reyes’ status.
“From a PBA-PLDT point of view, winning the PBA championship is important to us – very, very important. We’re an organization where we push excellence. But there is a bigger calling at this point, it is flag and country,” said Panlilio.
Gilas will fly to Beirut as they take on Lebanon on August 25 in their first game of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers August window.
With Game 2 of the PBA finals scheduled on August 24 and Game 3 on August 26, Reyes will no longer be available due to a jam-packed itinerary.
The veteran tactician will be back with the team in Game 4 (August 28) as Gilas will fly home to defend home court on August 29 when they face Saudi Arabia at the Mall of Asia Arena.
All eyes will be on Reyes and the boosted Gilas squad with the addition of NBA aspirant Kai Sotto and former NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson.
“That is what I’m looking forward to. If the team can continue to operate at a very high level even in my absence, that means I’ve done my job, that I’ve coached these guys well,” Reyes said.
As of now, the Tropang Giga management is yet to appoint their interim head coach for Reyes, the same case when Meralco’s head coach Norman Black had to be replaced by coach Luigi Trillo when he had to address some family matters.