OPINION: Dear Coach, Nobody Here
OPINION: Dear Coach, Nobody Here
OPINION: Dear Coach, Nobody Here
by Jeffrey Joe Pe-Aguirre01 September 2023
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Vincent "Chot" Reyes. (Photo courtesy of Smart Gilas Pilipinas Facebook page)

Dear Coach Chot,

Back in the summer of 1992, a five-foot-two-inch guard walked up to you outside the Blue Eagle Gym asking for a chance to tryout for the Ateneo UAAP Men’s Basketball Team.

That was me. And with palpable reluctance, you said yes.

At the end of tryout day one, you pulled me aside and told me that I’ve put in a lot of hard work honing individual skills, but what you need is someone who knows how to play organized basketball.


So ended my childhood dream of someday donning a team jersey, the school’s name in front, mine at the back.

It’s hard to pin down exactly, but there was something in the way you treated me that day which made it OK to walk chin up in the face of failure.

Thank you for the best worst day of my life.

But on my way home, slunk away towards the back of a blue bus, I wept.


Best to learn one of real life’s harshest lessons as a young adult: If you give everything you’ve got, you’re gonna make it; except when you don’t.

After college, I went on to be a sportswriter, and we crossed paths once again when I interviewed a couple of foreign referees working for the Metropolitan Basketball Association.

You joined the interview just in time to hear both of them mocking me for using the term, “illegal offense.”

Thanks for explaining to them that the term colloquially refers to an isolation violation, when the offense positions three or more weak-side players beyond the three-point arc.


Speaking of explaining, there’s been a lot of that going on these days on social media.

Everybody who’s anybody has chimed in on Gilas’ campaign at this year’s FIBA World Cup, and here’s one more voice that, most likely, won’t help nor hurt.

I’m a nobody.

Nobody believes we’ll win against China on Saturday.


With love, respect, and sentimental memories,

# # #

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