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MANILA, Philippines – After dealing with various injuries over the past few years that have limited his play in the PBA and chances to join Gilas Pilipinas in international competition, a now-healthier Ryan Reyes is eager to earn his spot with the national team and help in any way he can.
Reyes, a 3-point shooting and defensive specialist for Tropang TNT in the PBA, was one of the more impressive players in Gilas’ tune-up win against Iran on Wednesday, June 8, as he finished with 12 points and 4 3-pointers.
A few hours later, the 32-year-old from Los Angeles, California was named to the 14-man Gilas team that will take part in a training camp in Europe ahead of the FIBA Olympic Qualifiers in Manila in July.
“Just the system of the offense gives us the opportunity to get open looks and stuff, especially with Andray (Blatche) in there and Jayson (Castro) driving to the hole,” Reyes told Rappler about his performance against Iran after the game.
“If [we’re] open, coach (Tab Baldwin) wants us to take it. Today I felt good and it was going in so I kept shooting.”
At the time of the interview with Reyes, it was still uncertain whether he would make the 14-man cut, especially with other shooters Jeff Chan and Marcio Lassiter also vying for slots.
Due in part to injuries to Chan (groin) and Lassiter (leg, bronchitis), plus Reyes’ solid performance on Wednesday, he will get to join Gilas as they face Turkey in Turkey then participate in a pocket tournament with Canada, China, and Italy in Italy over the next few weeks before returning to Manila on the 28th of the month.
“Whether I make it or not I’m just going to work hard and help this team get to where we need to get,” Reyes said at the time.
About how he feels physically, he said “A lot better than the last time, I’ll tell you that.”
Reyes, a 4-time PBA All-Defensive Team member and 3-time season steals leader, admitted that there’s still some conditioning hurdles he has to get through.
“Soreness here and there but that’s common, especially [since] we’ve been practicing every day, but, hopefully, I just got to keep staying healthy and be good to go,” he said.
The final Gilas roster for the OQT will be trimmed to 12, with the other two becoming reserve players. A victory in the tournament for the national team will earn it a ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I just do what I got to do out there. How I’ve been playing throughout my whole career is what I’m doing, whether Coach Tab it’s feels the right fit, then that’s the right fit. If not, that’s okay. I’m just there to work hard for the country, for the team, for myself.” – Rappler.com