HWASEONG, South Korea — Iran basketball star Mohammadsamad Nik Khahbahrami ripped into the referees for failing to control the game against the Philippines in the Asian Games on Thursday, allowing rough play that resulted in 47 fouls and 47 free throw shots.
“I think this game was very, very physical and the referees let it dictate us,” said the player known more as Bahrami during the post-game press conference.
Bahrami scored 21 points in Iran’s 68-63 victory over the Philippines, hitting several crucial shots in the endgame to help the Asian champions take the victory in a game that saw Marc Pingris foul out and Marcus Douthit, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Paul Lee hit with four fouls each.
Bahrami said Iran had a difficult time adjusting to the referees’ calls in the Asian Games, which he said pales in comparison to the officiating in the last Fiba World Cup in Spain.
“We were coming from the world championship. The games were played at a higher level than here. They didn’t let the players play basketball. It should not be like this. It’s not good for Asian basketball. We should bring it to the level of the World Cup,” said Bahrami.
Bahrami made it clear he is not insinuating that the referees favored any team, saying both Iran and Gilas were victims of bad officiating.
“Some teams are really confused here. I don’t say the referees helped us or helped them. But this is not basketball. In the Fiba Asia and World Cup, the games are really better every point of the game,” said Bahrami.
“This is not fun for the fans. You see grabbing and pushing. I don’t say it’s in the Iran side or the Philippines side. They should call better and focus on the game. There were five or six mistakes on the out of bounds situation. You never see this in the World Cup,” said Bahrami.
Just like Gilas Pilipinas, Bahrami even questioned the ball being used in the Asian Games.
“The ball is very different for us. This is the first time I’ve seen this ball,” said Bahrami.