MANILA, January 5, 2005 
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Vincent "Chot" Reyes is the anointed one.

The Philippine Basketball Association board of governors yesterday appointed Reyes as head coach of the national team upon the recommendation of league commissioner Noli Eala, giving him the task of plotting the country’s four-year campaign to regain its once honored place in Asian basketball.

In a breakfast meeting at Chateau 1771, the board unanimously approved Eala’s recommendation, putting an end to a keen search for the man that would hopefully guide the Nationals to a return stint in the Olympics in 2008. (Related story on Page 11)

Reyes was chosen over Joel Banal after Eala went through and made a thorough evaluation of their respective programs. Tim Cone and Yeng Guiao were eliminated from the race after the preliminary interviews of the four hopefuls.

"With all factors being practically equal, I decided to ultimately base my decision on who I strongly believe could achieve victory and or success for the national team as this is the logical and necessary objective of the whole program," said Eala.

"I put premium on the program that appears to be the most practicable but efficient, a vision that clearly sees the end goal, an attitude that will ensure that we shall see our efforts to its logical conclusion and a personality that exudes confidence and strength to face daunting odds," Eala added.

For a while, Eala said he nearly opted to hand the job to Banal after his 11th hour final interviews on the two frontrunners Monday night.

"Ang lakas ng dating ni coach Joel. He delivered his points very well on our discussions. But in the end, I decided that the bottom line is that who could best give us the win," said Eala.

In his evaluation of the two coaches and their programs, Eala said Banal appeared to be the more enthusiastic and optimistic, and showed a high degree of confidence with regard to management support of his mother ball club.

But Eala said Reyes was truly impressive with the depth and long term vision of his basketball program.

"He seemed to be more prepared in terms of handling the national team at a given instance. The basic elements of his training program, selection process and budget preparation were generally better and more substantial than that of coach Banal.

Coach Reyes also was clearly more knowledgeable of the international game and seemed a more ardent student of basketball," Eala also said of Reyes.

Reyes was given an initial term of two years renewable for another two years depending on his performance.

Eala said he intends to put up a management group, independent from the PBA Commissioner’s Office, to handle the affairs of the national team.

He added he has someone in mind for this job but refused to name him.

"I will discuss it with him first. Baka kasi hindi tanggapin ang trabaho. Siya ang magiging team manager ng team and the one who will liaise among the PBA, BAP and the national team," said Eala.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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