INCHEON, South Korea — Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes said he is willing to play without under-fire Marcus Douthit on Saturday in an all-important game against host Korea in the 17th Asian Games men’s basketball competition.
Following a shocking loss to Qatar on Friday, the Philippine men’s national team faces a must-win situation against the hosts in their 2 p.m. encounter (1 p.m. Manila time) to be held at the Samsan World Gymnasium located at the heart of the city.
The game comes just after Reyes launched a controversial tirade on its naturalized player on Friday following Gilas’ 77-68 loss to Qatar in Hwaseong where he accused Douthit of 'quitting' on the team.
Following what he believed was an ‘un-Filipino’ attitude by the naturalized player, Reyes said he doesn’t mind sitting Douthit against the Koreans if he isn’t ready to play mentally and physically.
“If he doesn’t want to play, we will just play all-Filipino,” said Reyes. “It’s useless to use a player who doesn’t want to play.”
“If he wants to go home, he can go home,” said Reyes.
A loss by Gilas on Saturday against Korea will end its chance of entering the crossover semifinals. If it is any consolation, the Filipinos beat the same team in last year's Fiba Asia championships in Manila with Douthit sitting out majority of the game due to injury.
However, Korea will have homecourt advantage in this game and intends to use it to the hilt. Tickets to the game are already soldout, and most of them are in the hands of home fans.
Reyes also downplayed the issue of fatigue for a team coming off a historic stint in the Fiba World Cup and an early clash with title favorite Iran on Thursday.
“I think it’s not an issue of fatigue; it’s more of desire,” Reyes said.
Korea will come into the game seeking to gain closer to a semifinal slot in Group H after it defeated Kazakhstan, 77-60, in a game where it hit 10 three-pointers.