SAMAHANG Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) head Manny V. Pangilinan and Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes have cried foul over reports that several countries are set to protest the move to replace the ineligible Andray Blatche with Marcus Douthit on claims that it is against Asian Games rules.
A number of newspapers reported on Thursday that a protest is set to be lodged on Gilas' move to put in Douthit in place of Blatche, who was declared ineligible by the Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee (Iagoc) for his failure to comply with the three-year residency rule on naturalized players.
The report said regional basketball contenders like Iran, China, and Japan contend that the switch is unlawful since the Asiad charter only allows changes to the lineup in cases of 'injury or medical reasons' and not in situations involving ineligible players.
Under such contention, the only way Gilas can insert Douthit in the lineup is to replace an 'injured' local player, meaning the Philippines faces the prospect of fielding only 11 men in the Asiad.
Pangilinan hit out at the report in a series of tweets, branding it a "lie."
Pangilinan also claimed that the SBP has a 'written authorization' from the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) allowing Douthit to replace Blatche in the lineup which it secured during the Asiad registration meeting last September 11 where Blatche's disqualification was ruled with finality.
In that same meeting, Reyes said the Philippines secured the permission of OCA to 'replace an ineligible player (in Blatche) with Douthit and make other changes to the lineup.
"We have OCA authorization for Marcus Douthit to play ... Marcus cleared by OCA in Sept. 8 letter to us and by IAGOC during the DRA (Delegation registration meeting) last Sept. 11," Pangilinan said in his tweets.
"We have fully complied w/ all procedures and requirements making Marcus eligible and part of a 12-man roster," added Pangilinan.
Pangilinan, however, appeared to recognize the threat of a protest from other countries in a succeeding tweet, saying Gilas "faces the prospect of playing with 11 players."
"Hey, what they're doing is a travesty of Olympic ideals," he added.
Reyes, for his part, said the issue has only added to a chaotic Asian Games buildup for a Gilas team coming off a high in the last Fiba World Cup in Spain, where it booked the Philippines' first victory in the world championships in four decades.
"Hindi na nga namin alam kung ano ba talaga," he told Spin.ph. "We're leaving on Saturday already and all we can do is prepare the best we can."