By JONAS TERRADO
Coach Chot Reyes took the blame for the disastrous finish in the 31st Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball campaign that saw Gilas Pilipinas falling short of retaining the gold following a shock defeat to Indonesia.
The Philippines’ reign as the region’s top team in the men’s side came to an end after Indonesia came away with an 85-81 victory Sunday at the Tranh Tri Gymnasium in Hanoi, Vietnam despite going into the Games as the heavy favorite.
Even with the presence of June Mar Fajardo, brothers Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, it was enough for the Philippines to lose the gold for the first time since 1989.
Reyes later praised Indonesia, with former Gilas coach Rajko Toroman at the sidelines as technical director, for the way it won the contest.
He also spared the players, saying that the fingers should be pointed at him.
“Our players played their best,” Reyes said, as quoted by a pool story sent to media outlets back home. “Indonesia came up with a very good game plan. They shot well from the three-point line. In the end, we just couldn’t match it.
“Obviously that’s on me. I take full accountability and responsibility for the result. Like I said, they tried their best and that’s sports. That’s life. Sometimes, things don’t work out the way we played,” he added.
Indonesia ruled the event after winning all six matches and will serve as a huge confidence-booster in its quest to qualify for next year’s FIBA World Cup.
On the flip side, there will be plenty of reflections in the coming days and weeks for Gilas and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, with the result appearing to be a sound evidence that participating alone is no longer enough to win the gold.