October 3, 2014
Wrath of the Titan
The seige on the beleaguered Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes rages on.
And it’s getting ugly.
Of course, Reyes has been getting the flak after Gilas’ disastrous seventh place finish in the recently-concluded Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. Whether it’s deserving or not, we’re not God to judge a person. But there are criticisms. And bashers too. Two of them are the father and son tandem of Recah and Chino Trinidad. The eldest of the two, the highly-respected Recah, or Tata Recah to us younger generation of sportswriters, has not been remiss in making his feelings known in his column at the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He’s like a fire-breathing dragon when he writes his prose. The younger Trinidad, former commissioner of the defunct Philippine Basketball League and one of stakeholders that helped create the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas less than a decade ago, is even fiercer and more volcanic. Just look at his Facebook page and listen to his views in online portals and televisions newscasts, and you’ll think he’s a volcano spewing lava.
There are more.
But the one that caught our attention was the words that came straight from a basketball legend who is known to us all. Ramon Fernandez. El Presidente. 19-time PBA champion. Four-time MVP. Six-time PBA All-Star. 13-time Mythical First Team. Three-time Mythical Second Team. Member of the 25 Greatest Players. PBA Hall of Fame Class of 2005. Member of the Phl team that won the gold in the 1972 FIBA-Asia Under-18 Championship and the 1973 FIBA-Asia Championship in Manila and the silver in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing, China. Won two games, not just one, in the world basketball stage. Love me or kill me, but Fernandez is the Filipino Larry Bird, who can literally play all positions.
So if there’s someone next to God who has the right to talk in basketball matters, it’s Don Ramon. When he talks, we should listen.
And here’s what he told spin.ph’s Snow Badua:
BASKETBALL legend Ramon Fernandez hit out at Chot Reyes on Friday for what he termed as a ‘disrespectful’ and ‘shameful’ act of instructing Gilas Pilipinas to shoot in its own basket late in a win over Kazakhstan in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. Speaking from Cebu where he is now based, Fernandez said he felt ashamed at the sight of Gilas – needing to win by at least 11 points against the Kazakhs but leading by only two points in the dying seconds – making a basket in its own goal in a bid to send the game into overtime. “That’s the lowest of the low,” the four-time PBA MVP and many-time national player told Spin.ph on Friday. “Yung ini-utos niya na ‘yun, totally lambasted and disrespected ang legacy and the past heroes of Philippine basketball. Nakakahiya yun.” Reyes later explained that the ‘own goal’ was the only way allowed by the Asian Games format under the circumstances for Gilas to achieve its goal of making the semifinals, but Fernandez said the act tarnished the achievements of generations of Filipino basketball heroes. [See Reyes justifies decision to go for ‘own goal’ against Kazakhstan, but Fiba rules clear on matter] “Yung ginawa niya na pina-shoot sa kalaban, that’s the lowest you can go. That’s a total disrespect for sports. Nabubwisit ako kasi winarak niya whatever gains my generation and the previous generations have done for basketball for the country. “Sinira lang n’ya with one stupid move shooting the basket in our own goal.” The basket was later nullified by the referees, which Fernandez said reflected Reyes’ lack of knowledge of the rules. “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,” the former Toyota star said. Fernandez, a member of the last all-Filipino team to win the Asian title back in 1973 in Manila, also slammed the Gilas coach for not playing naturalized player Andray Blatche and June Mar Fajardo together more in the Fiba World Cup and for his tirade against Marcus Douthit in the Asian Games. [See Chot rips into Douthit, accuses naturalized player of ‘quitting’ on Gilas] “Last Fiba world, hindi na-maximize ang naturalized palyer at presence ni June Mar. Hindi niya pinagsabay si Blatche at June Mar fajardo. Ginawang reliever si June Mar, MVP sa PBA gagawin mo lang reliever? Ano masyado siyang na-obsess sa ipinakita ni Blatche sa kanya? “In the world stage, we need tall players. Apat na malalaki. If he played June Mar and Blatche together, you think matatalo tayo sa Puerto Rico? You think makakapasok at makakasalaksak ang JJ Barea sa atin kung may twin towers ka sa gitna? “Tapos hihirit pa siya na Olympics ang target niya, hindi Asian Games. This is all hype. Lahat ginawa na niyang rason, from the referees to the schedule, to Douthit, walang go-to guy, walang leader sa loob ng court. “Huwag niya i-blame yung players. Kung naging humble pa sana siya from the very beginning hindi ganun ang naging reaction ng fans sa kanya. Hindi tanga ang mga fans.” [See As calls for resignation grow, Reyes says he’s leaving fate to Gilas management] That Gilas lost several endgame battles was also the coach’s fault, Fernandez added. “The worst dyan, sa loob ng laro, sigawan mo players, pero wag mong iinsultuhin in front of the press and sisihin,” said Fernandez, who is now based in Cebu tending to his ‘Suka ni El Presidente’ business. “Kita mo naman yung games, lamang tayo going into the fourth quarter tapos mahahabol pa rin. Kasalanan ba ng players yun? Kaya ng player kunin ang lamang, hindi nila kayang proteksyunan yung lamang? Diskarte ng coach ‘yun. Kasalanan ng coach ‘yun.”
Read more at: http://www.spin.ph/basketball/news/mon-fernandez-hits-out-at-chot-reyes-gilas-pilipinas-for-dastardly-act-shot-own-goal-asian-games-incheon
Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: Unfortunately, Reyes hasn’t said anything on his Twitter account after Incheon. And we’re waiting and eager to hear his side of the story. He told some Filipino media men in Incheon though that he has taken full responsibility of the Asiad debacle. Good and fine. In the end, we should stop finger-pointing, lick our wounds, move on and just learn from our mistakes in Incheon.
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Photo courtesy of Ramon “El Presidente” Fernandez)