CHOT Reyes blamed himself for the Philippines’ meltdown in the fourth quarterthat led to its stunning defeat to Chinese Taipei on on Saturday night before a jampacked home crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Reyes said that his players lost steam in the end while posting a 13-point lead entering the fourth period after having to fight back from a 19-30 deficit at the end of the first quarter.
After taking a 68-55 lead in the fourth quarter, the Taiwanese opened the fourth with a 14-2 run forcing Reyes to call a timeout which pundits insisted should have come much earlier.
Lu Cheng-ju then hit the dagger three-pointer at the 1:28 mark with a triple, 81-77, forcing the Gilas coach to call his last timeout of the game.
But Reyes said that his players were just too tired to mount another comeback.
“I should have done a better job rotating the players and pacing them,” said Reyes, a picture of frustration when he entered the press room for the post-game interviews.
“We spent a lot of energy in our chase. We didn’t have anything left in the end,” said Reyes.
As a result, four players had at least 28 minutes of play with Gabe Norwood logging 34.
“That was the story of the game,” Reyes said.
Point guard Jimmy Alapag, however, refused to blame fatigue for the defeat.
“They hit some tough shots,” Alapag said, noting the Taiwanese’s 15-of-30 accuracy from three-point range. “Everytime a team hits 15 threes, it’s tough to beat a team that shot that well.”
Alapag, however, is not giving up on the team.
“But we fought hard. Like the coach said, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. We have to stay together and get ready for the next round,” said Alapag.