MANILA – Filipino basketball legend Ramon Fernandez said that if national team coach Chot Reyes wasn’t thinking too much about himself, Gilas Pilipinas would have been more successful in its international stints.
Fernandez, fondly known as “El Presidente” by hardcore PBA fans, said Reyes wasn’t too focused on his task when he was coaching the national team, which is why Gilas Pilipinas bombed out of the FIBA World Cup and in the recent Asian Games.
“Kung naging humble sana siya from the very beginning, hindi naging ganun ang reaction ng fans sa kanya eh. Kasi gusto nya sikat agad siya, yan ang nasa utak niya. Sarili lang niya ang iniisip niya eh,” the PBA legend said in a podcast interview with Snow Badua of Spin.ph.
Fernandez said one of Reyes’ coaching flaws was when the Gilas mentor took so long to decide on fielding both Andray Blatche and June Mar Fajardo at the same time.
He said Reyes preferred to stick to one big man at a time during the FIBA Worlds and this cost them a spot in the Last 16 of the FIBA Worlds.
“A case in point na sinasabi ko na hindi na-maximize ang naturalized player natin. Dun sa Puerto Rico... sa tingin mo si JJ Barea makakadrive ng ganun ganun na lang kung merong dalawang posteng malaki na nandyan si Fajardo at si Blatche sa ilalim?” the four-time PBA Most Valuable Player pointed out.
Reyes fielded both Blatche and Fajardo against Senegal and this translated to a win but came too late, he said.
“Kaya ako galit na galit. Naaawa ako sa player na for one na nakapagbigay ng serbisyo sa flag and country, blood, sweat and tears nila. Sinira lang niya, lalo na sa mga fans,” said Fernandez.
“Moral victories, close games doesn't mean a thing. bottom line: nanalo ka ba, natalo ka ba? ilan ang pinanalo mo?”
When Badua mentioned the win against Senegal, Fernandez retorted: “Isa lang nga ang pinanalo nya, no bearing game. What's the big fuss about it?”