After Gilas Pilipinas lost to South Sudan with a score of 87-68 on Aug. 31, the team's head coach, Chot Reyes, took full responsibility for the losses at the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“I’ve had numerous times. I’ve already said that I’m really sorry that we were not able to deliver, and I’ve taken accountability and responsibility," Reyes stated in a press conference on the same day.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), Manny V. Pangilinan, meanwhile, revealed in an Aug. 30 press con that Reyes apologized to him for Gilas' losses, including their games against Italy on Aug. 29.
"Chot texted me late [Tuesday] with only two words: He told me, ‘Sorry, boss,'" Pangilinan recalled. According to PhilStar.com, Pangilinan said that he has not responded yet to Reyes as he does not know what to say to him.
Pangilinan believes Reyes tried his best for Gilas to win the World Cup. “I feel for Chot. I have no doubt he tried his best. I feel for our players; I have no doubt either that they have tried their best,” he said.
Reyes' apology meanwhile drew mixed reactions from social media users. Some urged for the veteran tactician to step down from his position completely.
One user on X (formerly Twitter) wrote, "Taking full responsibility means resigning from your position." Another one agreed, saying, "Too much publicity! Let is move on by having another National Coach for an international games! Hes done!"
"Wow 3 losses in a row in our own turf? Ok lang po sana kung hindi tayo nag-host. Something must be really really wrong!" one user ranted. "Talking of momentum. Really hopin' we beat China in next game para di naman tayo sobrang kawawa."
There are also those who chose to look at the silver lining, hoping that Gilas would redeem itself in its upcoming game against China.
One user tweeted, "Let's wait for the last game. I am sure changes will be made."
"For now, next focus is to beat team China on Saturday. I will be happy if you are able to do that," another one chided.
"You still have a game left. All is not lost yet. Just don’t lose to China," one user wrote.
Gilas played four games: Gilas vs. the Dominican Republic, box score of 81-87; Gilas vs. Angola, box score of 70-80; and Gilas vs. Italy, box score of 83-90. The game with South Sudan was their fourth loss in this year’s FIBA World Cup.
This loss bid them the contention for the one Asian place in the Paris Olympics 2024.
Despite reactions from Gilas fans for Reyes to resign, he said he would leave it to SBP regarding his coaching fate.
“With regards to my personal future, that really is in the hands of the federation. But for me, we all know that I’m already retired and left this job several times. But when I’ve been asked to come back, I could not turn my back to the call of service for flag and country,” he stated.
Gilas has one more game with China on September 2 at 8 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum.