PBA legend Ramon Fernandez blasts Chot Reyes for own goal, self-promotion
MANILA, Philippines - Count “El Presidente” among the growing legion of Chot Reyes critics.
Ramon Fernandez, credited by many as the greatest player to compete in the Philippine Basketball Association, lashed out at Gilas Pilipinas coach Reyes over disappointments at the recently concluded Asian Games and FIBA World Cup tournaments.
Fernandez, a four-time PBA MVP, slammed the five-time PBA Coach of the Year for calling a play which saw naturalized center Marcus Douthit deposit the ball into their own goal in their game against Kazakhstan in an attempt to send the game into overtime to meet their 11-point quota.
"That's the lowest of the low," Fernandez told Spin.PH’s Snow Badua of the ‘score’ that was disallowed due to FIBA rules. “Instructing his players to do that totally lambasted and disrespected the legacy and the past heroes of Philippine basketball.
“That's a total disrespect for sports. I'm disappointed because he ruined whatever gains my generation and the previous generations have done for basketball for the country. He ruined it all with one stupid move shooting the basket in our own goal.”
Fernandez, who turned 61 on Friday, and played on the Philippine teams that won gold at the FIBA Asia Championship in 1973 and silver at the 1990 Asian Games, criticized Reyes for not utilizing reigning PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo alongside naturalized NBA veteran Andray Blatche as a “Twin Towers” force at the FIBA World Cup last month, which saw the Philippines finish 1-4 in their first appearance on the world stage in 36 years.
“He made June Mar a reliever. He's a PBA MVP and you'll just make him a reliever? What, is he too obsessed with what Blatche showed him?,” said Fernandez of the team Reyes led to a seventh-place finish at the Asian Games, the Philippines’ worst showing since pro players were allowed to compete in international tournaments.
“In the world stage, we need tall players. Four big guys. If he played June Mar and Blatche together, you think we would lose against Puerto Rico? You think JJ Barea could penetrate and attack if we had twin towers down the middle?”
Fernandez also said Reyes was out of line for criticizing Douthit for the loss to Qatar, calling him “un-Filipino” and inviting him to go home and leave the team to compete “all-Filipino.” Douthit was benched for the entire game against South Korea, which saw the Philippine beaten and effectively eliminated from semifinals contention.
“He should not blame the players. If he had been humble from the very start then the fans wouldn't have reacted the way they did. The fans are not stupid.”
Reyes later shouldered the blame for his team's failure to advance to the Asiad Final Four, but blamed the Games' organizers for ruling Blatche ineligible.
In a follow-up story on Spin, Fernandez says Reyes should focus more on basketball strategy and less on self-promotion. “His focus is on coffee table books, press releases, documentaries, and TV. That's his focus. Look at the coffee book they're making. Open the first five pages. If his picture isn't in the first five pages, I'll cut my finger out.” - Rappler.com