MANILA, Philippines – Chot Reyes shouldered the blame as Gilas Pilipinas saw the end of its decades-long reign in the Southeast Asian Games come to an end.
The Philippines failed to capture a 14th straight men’s basketball gold after a surprising 81-85 loss to Indonesia before a stunned Thanh Tri Gymnasium crowd on Sunday, May 22.
“Obviously that’s on me. I take full accountability and responsibility for the result,” Reyes told reporters in Hanoi.
“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.”
The loss came as a shock to Filipino fans back home and abroad given that the Philippines and Indonesia were considered worlds apart in basketball prior to this SEA Games.
In fact, Gilas Pilipinas demolished Indonesia by an average of 22.5 points in their two encounters in the previous FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.
Also, Indonesia is ranked No. 95 by FIBA, a far cry from the Philippines’ No. 34 standing.
Indonesia, though, proved to be a different animal this time with former NBA player Marques Bolden, Japan B. League import Brandon Jawato, and NBA Global Academy product Derrick Michael Xzavierro on board.
Bolden, Jawato, and Xzavierro combined for 43 points and 5 of their total 13 three-pointers as Indonesia captured its first ever men’s basketball gold.
Matthew Wright and June Mar Fajardo put the Philippines on their backs with 23 and 20 points, respectively, but their numbers were not enough to prevent the country from settling for silver for the first time since 1989.
“They tried their best and that’s sports. That’s life. Sometimes, things don’t work out the way we planned,” said Reyes, who returned to his post as Gilas Pilipinas coach just last January.
It was a disappointing campaign for the Philippines in basketball after the country swept all four events in the sport in the 2019 SEA Games.