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MANILA, Philippines – For the duration of the 2023 FIBA World Cup, fans of host team Gilas Pilipinas have arrived to home venues en masse with huge cheering energy at their disposal.
From the team’s record-setting debut game at the sprawling Philippine Arena to the latter two group phase games at the legendary Araneta Coliseum, Filipinos have always directed positive vibes to Gilas players at earsplitting levels.
So it’s not surprising that those same fans doing a sharp turn and heavily booing Gilas head coach Chot Reyes can feel off-putting to some, including star guard Jordan Clarkson.
“Yeah, I think so [it’s a little weird]. I’m really not around the situations to figure out what it’s for or whatever. But I guess, yeah, it’s a little weird especially with us hosting and us being the home country,” said Clarkson, who once already defended Reyes in the World Cup qualifiers.
“Like I said, I don’t really know much about the situation, but in that point it does feel a little weird, and kind of just out of the ordinary, honestly.”
While fans’ booing of Reyes started off mellow in the opening match against the Dominican Republic, the chorus rose against Angola before reaching a noticeable crescendo against Italy, just as title contention hopes were all but gone following two crushing losses.
Weird or not, many fans online and onsite strongly feel that their displeasure feels more justified with every passing game, especially now that the Philippines is the first World Cup host to lose its first three games in 41 years, dating back to 1982 with Colombia.
Unfortunately for Reyes, Gilas has two more games left down in the classification round, and his boos will likely not stop soon, no matter how often his players come to his defense.
Clarkson in the meantime, will just continue to do what he does best, regardless of the crowd’s mood. – Rappler.com