By JONAS TERRADO
TNT is bringing back coach Chot Reyes in a bid to end the franchise’s long PBA title drought.
The Tropang Giga made the announcement Saturday as they decided to go with the multi-time champion mentor after two seasons under Bong Ravena and active consultant Mark Dickel.
“It’s like a homecoming for Chot. He is a coach that gave us four championships. We look forward to a successful relationship with Coach Chot,” said TNT Governor and PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas in a statement.
Vargas added that Reyes “wanted Dickel to stay on as an active consultant” but the former New Zealand national player and understudy of Gilas Pilipinas program director Tab Baldwin “decided to look for new opportunities and recuperate from his recent operation in Las Vegas.”
With Dickel as active consultant, TNT reached the Finals twice but lost to San Miguel Beer in the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup and Barangay Ginebra in last season’s PBA Philippine Cup bubble in Pampanga.
“We would like to thank Mark Dickel for all that he has done for the team. He brought us to the PBA Finals twice in the two years that he was onboard. We wish him well as he moves on to new endeavors,” said Vargas.
Now TNT is turning on the past in hopes of reviving the glory days with Reyes, who guided the franchise to four championships highlighted by a near-Grand Slam in 2011 with victories in the Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup.
TNT’s other titles under Reyes were in the 2009 and 2012 Philippine Cup.
“Throughout my career, I have always tried to live according to my passion and purpose. My passion has always been coaching and building teams, whether in sports or business,” said Reyes. “And my purpose is to further the advancement of Filipino coaches, so we can, in turn, help develop the next generation of Filipino leaders.
It will be Reyes’ first coaching gig since 2018 when he stepped down as Gilas mentor in the aftermath of the team’s brawl with Australia in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
He has spent the last three years in the corporate world, once holding the position as head of TV5, and at the same participating in speaking engagements before he was called back in the team’s bids to turn its fortunes around.
“Coaching again in the PBA provides me an excellent platform to advance this advocacy. I have spent the best years of my career as a Ka-Tropa, and I look forward to this new challenge,” he added.