EIGHT-TIME Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) champion coach Chot Reyes is back in the league with the TNT Tropang GIGA.

Mr. Reyes, 57, was announced at the weekend to take the head coaching duties for Smart Communications’ pro basketball team when the new PBA season unfurls later this year.

It will be a homecoming for the five-time PBA coach of the year and former Gilas Pilipinas bench tactician with the franchise, which he helped win four league titles, the last one in the 2011-2012 season (Philippine Cup). “It’s like a homecoming for Chot. He is a coach that gave us four championships. We look forward to a successful relationship with Coach Chot,” said Ricky Vargas, team governor and chairman of PBA Board of Governors, in a statement.

Mr. Reyes takes over from TNT active consultant Mark Dickel, who ran the team along with coach Bong Ravena for the last couple of years.

Mr. Dickel was asked to stay with the team, but declined the offer to look for new opportunities elsewhere.

In making a return to the PBA, Mr. Reyes, who was TV5’s top executive until 2019, expressed his excitement to be doing something he is truly passionate about.

“Throughout my career, I have always tried to live according to my passion and purpose. My passion has always been coaching and building teams, whether in sports or business. And my purpose is to further the advancement of Filipino coaches, so we can, in turn, help develop the next generation of Filipino leaders,” said Mr. Reyes.

“Coaching again in the PBA provides me an excellent platform to advance this advocacy. I have spent the best years of my career as a ka-Tropa, and I look forward to this new challenge,” he added.

With TNT, Mr. Reyes will lead a team bannered by veteran Jayson Castro, Roger Pogoy, Ray Parks Jr., Troy Rosario, and JP Erram.

Mr. Reyes started his PBA head coaching career with the Purefoods franchise in 1993. He also had stops with Sta. Lucia, Pop Cola, Coca-Cola, and San Miguel. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo