Despite securing their first win of the tournament this weekend in their final game against China, Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes decided to step down from his position. The team went 1-4 in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, losing to the Dominican Republic, Angola, Italy and South Sudan. The team failed to qualify for the second round of the tournament of the upcoming Olympics.
The resignation marked the end of Reyes’ fourth stint as national coach. The team finished as high as runner-up for the 2013 FIBA Asia Cup in Manila under his command but has not been able to translate the same success in larger international tournaments.
Reyes faced severe backlash from many basketball fans in the Philippines who led a chorus of boos when his name was introduced in the final game against China. He admitted in a press conference afterwards that the team didn’t perform up to expectations and took full responsibility for the Gilas not making it to the latter rounds of the competition.
Gilas FIBA World Cup Performance Summary
The Gilas Pilipinas started off the tournament against a solid Dominican Republic team which featured NBA-star Karl Anthony Towns. The game was close for the most part but the Dominican Republic was able to pull away in the final moments to secure a 87-81 win. Jordan Clarkson top scored for Gilas with 28 points, adding seven assists and seven rebounds.
In the team’s second match of the competition they squared off against Angola, the only team in the group ranked lower than the Philippines. Once again, Clarkson did his best to lift his team with 21 points but didn’t get much support, as no one else on the team was able to reach double figures. The game ended 80-70, as the Angolans won quite handily.
The third and last match of the Group stage was against a talented Italian side in which Gilas were huge underdogs. The game was relatively close however, with the Pilipinas making a recovery towards the end to finish with a score of 90-83. Clarkson top scored with 23 and Dwight Ramos added 14.
In the Classification round, Gilas first played South Sudan but were blown out in the first quarter of the game 34-17 and could never really recover. The game finished with a score of 87-68 and with it any hopes the team had of qualifying for the Olympics directly.
The final game of the World Cup for the host team was their only success of the tourney, beating team China comprehensively, 96-75. Jordan Clarkson lit it up from the field, scoring 34 points, while Dwight Ramos and Rhenz Abando tallied 11 and 14 respectively.
What’s Next For Gilas
With the win over China, Gilas has however qualified to play for next year’s 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. FIBA released their ranking for the classification round which ended up with the Philippines in 24th place after their 96-75 victory. Based on FIBA’s rankings, Gilas just made it into the fourth and final tier for the OQT which is open to the next best 16 placers in the World Cup that has not secured a place in the Olympics.
Interestingly, Gilas made it to the Olympic qualifiers as the 24th place team with a 1-4 record while Mexico was 25th although they went 2-3 in the competition. This was because the Philippines finished second in Group M while Mexico ended up third in Group N.
Overall, the one big bright spot from the competition was the play of star-guard Jordan Clarkson who led the team in scoring in each and every game. If Gilas can add a few role players around him and tune the skills of the youngsters on the team they should have a very bright future.
With Chot Reyes out as head coach there are many candidates that could take over the Gilas team. The team may look to hire another Filipino coach or look for an overseas coach with more experience at the highest level.