Frustration hits tipping point as Blatche ends FIBA World Cup ejected
BEIJING, China – Andray Blatche getting thrown out in what could be his final FIBA World Cup game for Gilas Pilipinas epitomized how the tournament turned out for him and the team: frustrating and agonizing.
The naturalized player could not contain his disappointment any longer as he headed to the showers midway through the final quarter of the Philippines' 75-95 loss to Iran after incurring two technical fouls.
Feeling he was fouled when he drove to the basket, Blatche hit out on the referees, who slapped him back-to-back techs that got him tossed out.
His ejection left the Philippines without its best player and Iran capitalized on that to secure the outright berth for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics reserved for the best finishing Asian team in the World Cup.
But head coach Yeng Guiao knew what made Blatche reach his tipping point.
"I'm disappointed but I can understand how Dray felt," said Guiao, highlighting how Iran was whistled for 17 fouls and given 32 free throws while the Philippines had 27 fouls and only 14 foul shots.
"That's the problem with international officiating – you don't know what the referees want. You can't read them. When there's contact, sometimes there's a foul, sometimes there's not. Sometimes it's traveling, sometimes it's not."
"It's something that our national teams will have to get used to because the calls can throw teams out of rhythm," he added in Filipino and English.
The lingering question now is if Blatche will still be a part of the national team in the future after failing to secure at least one win in the World Cup.
Blatche is already 33 years old and his fitness has been under the microscope since he rejoined the squad two months ago.
Guiao refused to give a definite answer.
"I cannot say that. I don't think that decision is going to be made now or the next few days," Guiao said of Blatche.
"That will take a lot of evaluation and assessment and I'm not even sure if I'll be the one to make that evaluation or assessment." – Rappler.com