MANILA -- Chot Reyes is best remembered for his coaching years with Gilas Pilipinas, especially in 2013 and 2014, when he led the Philippines to its first FIBA World Cup appearance since 1986.
But everything went awry for the Filipinos when they nosedived in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, which was marred by a controversial play.
In their last quarterfinal game against Kazakhstan, Gilas needed to win by at least 11 points to make it to the semifinals. To buy time, Reyes ordered Marcus Douthit to shoot in Gilas' own goal in a desperate attempt to force an overtime.
The move was later overruled and the Philippines settled for seventh place.
In an interview on "Coaches Unfiltered", Reyes explained they only did what they felt was necessary to get the team to advance.
"Love me or hate me, hindi talaga ako magpapatalo," he explained. "Whatever it takes hindi ako magpapatalo. The one thing for me I'm going to do whatever it takes."
Reyes said that before making the controversial shot, he consulted one of the referees.
"We asked the referee if we can shoot on the other court, sinabi ng isang referee yes. But he was overruled by the crew chief. Bawal pala 'yun. Hindi pwede, so na-technical," he said.
But he pointed out that even Kazakhstan was deliberately missing its own shots to prevent the game from reaching overtime.
"Remember that game, we were fouling but they were deliberately missing (the free throws)," said Reyes.
But Reyes explained the situation they had before going to the Asian Games that year.
Reyes said Gilas was supposed to send a different set of players to Incheon since the team was already banged up at the 2014 FIBA World Cup. They also had to play without Andray Blatche, who was deemed ineligible to play by the South Korean games committee.
"We suddenly had to activate Marcus from reserve status. Ang tagal nang hindi lumaro ni Marcus noon . . . He was inactive, he was basically not in competitive shape," Reyes said.
"That's where all the problem lay. We were playing Qatar, he felt he wanted to get his game shape back, but in the first 5 minutes I took him out . . . I wanted to preserve Marcus kasi we're going to play Korea, sunod sunod, we're going to play the tough teams. We wanted to make sure that Marcus is very fresh," Reyes said.
Douthit took offense and refused to play in the second half of the game, which led to Gilas' second half meltdown against Qatar.
It was a big blow for the Philippines' as it led to more defeats in the Asiad.
Gilas had its last chance against Kazakhstan. The Philippines won but failed to get the 11-point margin to move to the semis.
Reyes took the blame for it.
"As you know, ganu'n naman talaga dito sa atin sa Pilipinas, 'pag panalo ang team ang galing ng players, 'pag natalo ang tanga ng coach," he said.
But Reyes said getting blamed is part of the territory of being basketball coach.
"That's our job, coaches are hired to be fired. We understand that . . . that's part of our job," he said.
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