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Though not needed, Josh apologizes

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As Gilas 5.0 finishes with 1-4 mark in Iran.

Coach Josh Reyes yesterday apologized for the dismal performance of Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Asia Challenge in Tehran, Iran – the first tournament where the national squad was represented by a group of amateur cagers.

“I take full responsibility for our record and finish,” Reyes said on his Twitter account. “How I wish I could have coached better to help the players even more.”

Gilas came under fire in the Iranian capital after posting just one win in five matches to miss a spot in the quarterfinals of the tournament held to determine the teams that will qualify for next year’s FIBA Asia Cup.

The Nationals were hounded by an absence of a naturalized player, the lack of big men and the absence of top amateurs like Kiefer Ravena and Jio Jalalon as they absorbed a stunning loss to India, 91-83, last Friday.

They absorbed two more defeats to Taiwan (87-76) and China (85-75) before barging into the win column by beating Kazakhstan (98-84). Gilas’ ended its campaign with a 119-105 loss to Jordan.

One of the few bright spots in the Nationals’ struggles in Tehran was the strong showing of former Far Eastern University standout Mac Belo, who averaged 20.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

“I just want to express how extremely proud I am of our young Gilas men who gave 100 percent of themselves through the whole campaign,” said Reyes, the son of former Philippine coach Chot Reyes who was tasked to call the shots in lieu of Tab Baldwin’s absence.

“They did everything I asked of them with the best of their abilities. They stood their ground, took the hits, and never backed down. They squeezed every ounce of talent and fight they had from their bodies. That’s PUSO. As their coach, I could not demand for anything more. They represented the country well,” he added.

The FIBA Asia Challenge is the kickoff tourney for the all-amateur Gilas team formed for major tournaments like the qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup which starts late next year.

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