Oh, no, not again!
By Al S. Mendoza
THERE we go again.
In the recent Gilas Pilipinas tune-up with Jordan, things got physical once more.
But before push could come to shove, Jordan found it prudent to abandon the game.
In short, the Jordanians walked out.
Well, you could say it was just a practice game. Nothing serious.
But, hey, it could cause repercussions on the world stage before we know it.
Remember, this was a tune-up for both countries entered in the second window of the Fiba World Cup basketball qualifiers.
Nothing is at stake, indeed, except the experience that both will earn out of the scrimmage.
But there is more than meets the eye.
For one thing, the Fiba name is in it.
And you know how strict Fiba is when its name is involved.
For another, while it is just an “ordinary game,” it cannot just be taken for granted.
With animosities between both sides very evident as a result of the Jordan walkout, what might happen next if and when they meet again in the tournament proper?
In short, the walkout could spark further trouble—a thought that should be immediately nipped in the bud if we wish to avoid a repetition of that “basket brawl” between Gilas and Australia some months back.
That brawl happened also here.
And that was a regular game of the Fiba Cup qualifiers, with Australia running away with the game.
Nine Filipino players were suspended for their involvement in that virtual free-for-all, as against only three Aussies getting the boot.
Worst, Gilas coach Chot Reyes was also sacked, together with assistant coach Jong Uichico.
Reyes was suspended and fined for allegedly ordering his players to “kick some ass” while Uichico was caught on video punching an Australian player.
Chot’s suspension forced him to resign and replacing him is Yeng Guiao.
But like Chot, Yeng has a mercurial temper, too.
It showed again in the Gilas-Jordan tune-up when he engaged the Jordan coach in a heated argument.
Whether Yeng had a point or not, my take is he should have simply avoided a verbal skirmish.
It will simply lead to nothing, produce nothing but negative vibes.
In the first place, the tune-up was being held in our own turf. We should be the first to play meek.
As host, diplomacy should be the name of the game at all times.
While it is true that basketball can really get physical at times, our boys, young as they are, can sometimes get carried away by emotions.
When that happens, the coaches should be the first to pacify the hotheads.
A coach does not only craft strategy and tactics of the game but he also must teach his boys to behave at all times.
Thus, if a Fiba probe is once again done on the Jordan walkout and Guiao gets to be sanctioned for his temper on the matter, I will be the least surprised.
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