By JONAS TERRADO
Nenad Vucinic has been tasked to handle Gilas Pilipinas for the third window of the 2023 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers slated later this month in Auckland, New Zealand.
Team manager Butch Antonio confirmed the Serbian mentor’s appointment, but explained that he will be in charge for only the latest phase of the Asian Qualifiers.
Vucinic will temporarily take the place of embattled coach Chot Reyes, who has been under fire following Gilas’ stunning loss to Indonesia for the gold medal in the recent Vietnam Southeast Asian Games.
“Nenad will coach the team just for this window,” Antonio said days after Vucinic was included as consultant of the Meralco Bolts for the upcoming PBA season.
The 57-year-old has been serving as consultant since Reyes went in charge of the national team in February.
A veteran of numerous leagues abroad, Vucinic also served as an assistant under Tab Baldwin for the New Zealand national team before handling the Tall Blacks from 2006 to 2014.
Gilas is expected to send a core of amateur cagers mostly from the UAAP and NCAA as it resumes the campaign in the FIBA Qualifiers.
The Philippines split its two games in the February window, defeating India before losing to New Zealand at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Under Vucinic, Gilas will face New Zealand on June 30 and India on July 3 at the EventFinda Stadium.