'It’s time for someone else': Chot withdraws name from Gilas shortlist

Gilas head coach Chot Reyes receives a handsome plaque for his efforts in the 2014 FIBA World Cup. (Czeasar Dancel/NPPA Images)

After two years of spearheading the campaign of Gilas Pilipinas, Chot Reyes has officially stepped down and asked that his name be removed from the possible list of candidates for the Philippine national team’s next head coach.

“I understand the Search Committee is scheduled to meet this week. In this light, I humbly request that my name would not be considered by the Committee as a candidate for the national team coach of Smart Gilas Pilipinas,” Reyes said in a statement.

“This will allow the Committee to do its work unencumbered, take a broader view of other potential candidates to this national job, and enable the Gilas program to move on unfettered. Indeed, it is time for someone else take over the wheel; it is time for me to hand over that wheel,” he added.

Reyes took over from Rajko Toroman after Smart-Gilas Pilipinas fell short of its bid to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics. The multi-awarded coach led Gilas Pilipinas to a second-place finish in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship to qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.

“May I say that I have dedicated the past two years serving the National Team to the best of my ability. I have personally derived great pride and much satisfaction for the strides the Gilas program has taken – with the collective effort of everyone involved in the effort,” he added.

After the PBA and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas announced that they will form a search committee to oversee the selection process of the next edition of Gilas, they quickly pointed out that this did not mean that Reyes was automatically out.

SBP Executive Sonny Barrios clarified that Reyes’ name could still be in the short-list of candidates. However, Reyes’ statement puts an end to this possibility.

“I would like to thank MVP, the SBP, PBA, TV5, the PLDT group, the Gilas supporters, and most especially my family for those two difficult but wonderful years I was given to serve my country and Philippine basketball. Despite the intense pressure that came with the job and the public scrutiny that goes with being the National Coach, this job has always been a unique privilege – I wouldn’t trade it for anything else,” the statement continued.

“Salamat, Gilas. Salamat, Pilipinas.”

“Mabuhay tayong lahat. Laban Pilipinas! PUSO!”