HWASEONG, South Korea — The much-anticipated rematch between June Mar Fajardo and Hamed Haddadi didn’t end up the way Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes had wanted it to.
Saddled with foul trouble, Fajardo only had two points and four rebounds while committing five turnovers against Haddadi as Gilas lost a heartbreaker to Iran, 68-63, on Thursday at the Hwaseong Sports Complex.
Like Fajardo, Marcus Douthit also tried to hold his own against Haddadi, contributing 10 points and 10 rebounds but left saddled with foul fouls while trying to contain the 7-foot-2 Iran giant.
“June Mar couldn’t get the job done against Haddadi,” said Reyes during the postgame press conference. “Haddadi had a couple of drop passes inside, Haddadi blocked June Mar’s shot, he had a couple of offensive rebounds. That’s the game.”
During the juncture when Douthit sat and Fajardo had trouble containing Haddadi, Iran took advantage as Mahdi Kamrani sparked a pivotal 8-0 run to turn the game around.
Douthit’s decision-making in the final seconds was also questioned by Reyes, specifically his three-point attempt in the final seconds with Gilas down, 63-66.
Reyes said Douthit should not have taken that shot, simply because it was the shot Iran wanted Gilas to take.
“They denied all the shooters. The only thing left for us was Douthit taking a three-point shot. But Douthit should have not taken that shot. He should have waited," said the multi-titled coach.
"We had sufficiently trained and drilled them to get good shots in that situation. But Douthit took that shot so we have to live with that.
“He was open but there’s a reason why he was open. That was the shot Iran wanted. When our shooters get denied, we keep running into trouble,” added Reyes.