Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) legend Ramon Fernandez has lambasted Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes for instructing his team to resort to shooting at its own basket in an effort to extend its game against Kazakhstan at the Asian Games last week.
The four-time Most Valuable Player, who is regarded as among the best ever to play in the PBA, said resorting to such ploy is “a sign of disrespect” for the sport.
“Doon sa ginawa niya sa pinashoot niya sa kalaban, that’s the lowest you can go,” Fernandez said in a podcast interview with Spin.ph’s Snow Badua. “That’s total disrespect for the sport.”
Gilas was up 67-65 against Kazakhstan with seconds to go, but the Filipinos needed to win by at least 11 points to keep its semifinal hopes alive.
This prompted Reyes to instruct his team to shoot at its own goal to extend the game.
But the shot was nullified by the referee.
“You go to war not knowing the terrain and the armament he’ll use. He doesn’t know the rules of the Asian Games? He doesn’t know the eligibility of shooting in your own basket?” questioned Fernandez.
Fernandez was part of the Philippine team that won silver in the 1990 Asiad. He felt that Reyes’ ploy tarnished the gains the Filipinos have gained in previous competitions.
But Reyes said in a previous interview with Philstar.com that they did that “because we had to survive.”
The coach added that they even consulted with some of the referees during the game before making the shot.
“We asked the referee from Korea or Japan about it, and it was allowed,” Reyes said. “So we did it.”
“The Iranian ref nullified it,” he added.
Fernandez also criticized Reyes for publicly humiliating his own players, particularly Marcus Douthit.
“Okay lang sa loob ng laro sigawan mo ang player ‘O takbo’ pero wag mo namang iinsultuhin in front of the press,” he said.
He added that if there’s anyone to blame for Gilas’ disappointing performance at the Games, it should be the coach.
“Nakita mo naman ‘yung mga close games, leading tayo going to the fourth quarter tapos mahahabol pa rin? Kasalanan pa ba ng player ‘yun?” said Fernandez.
“Kaya ng player kunin yung lamang, hindi nila kayang proteksyunan ‘yung lamang? Diskarte na ng coach yan kung paano masustain and make his team stronger… If they can start strong, why can’t they finish strong if they have the same players?”