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Chot-Reyes-19-06-2014
Chot Reyes (PHI) - 2013 FIBA Asia Championship
19/06/2014

MANILA (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - Chot Reyes is like every other Filipino hoops fan in that he is enthusiastically looking forward to the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Gilas, as the national team is called, will compete at FIBA's flagship event for the first time since 1978, when they hosted it.

The main difference between Reyes and the Gilas supporters is a big one, though.

Reyes is the coach of the national side.

It's a role that he takes very seriously, not only in terms of choosing tactics or players, or running practices, but also in terms of promoting the side.

It would not be wrong to describe Reyes as a cheerleader because he is always voicing his excitement for the national team and rallying support.

Reyes has made sure to let the fans know when progress has been made in the naturalization of Andray Blatche as a Filipino.

The movers and shakers in Filipino basketball identified Blatche, an American center with the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, as a player that could make a significant impact for the team at the World Cup.

Blatche is in the latter stages of the process of receiving Filipino.

He recently travelled to Manila and Reyes kept fans up to speed with the visit by tweeting to his 106,000 followers four photos of the NBA big man.

One was tweeted on 8 June and shows Blatche at a restaurant table "enjoying Pinoy delicacies", as Reyes described the moment.

Blatche gave a press conference and was in buoyant mood.

"It was an amazing opportunity for me to come here, to learn your culture and to represent y'all," he said.

"I was very thankful the first time I heard about it (playing for Gilas).

"I was excited, I pretty much jumped on it and I was all for it."

Philippines President Benigno Aquino III has given his approval for the citizenship but Reyes told FIBAasia.net this week: "His (Blatche) citizenship papers are not yet completed."

Once they are finalized, the Philippines will have a 2.11m center who is sure to make a big impact on the squad when it plays in Sevilla's Group B at Spain 2014 against Argentina, Greece, Croatia, Puerto Rico and Senegal.

FIBA

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