CAGE legend Mon Fernandez stepped up his tirade against Chot Reyes, saying the Gilas Pilipinas coach should focus more on pursuing the goal of taking Philippine basketball to new heights and less on 'self-promotion.'
Just hours after a stunning tirade against Reyes for the 'own goal' Gilas deliberately made in a win over Kazakhstan in the Asian Games, the four-time PBA MVP accused Reyes of covering up for his mistakes with the help of 'press releases, television documentaries, and propaganda.'
“Ang focus niya kasi nasa coffee table books, nasa press release, nasa documentaries, TV. Yun ang focus niya eh,” Fernandez told Spin.ph. “Tignan mo yung coffee book na ginawa nila. Open the first five pages. Kung wala ang picture niya sa first five pages, papaputol ko daliri ko.”
Fernandez also did not spare the Twitter activity of Reyes, who most of the time prefers to make announcements on national team matters through his account in the micro blogging site rather than answer questions from media.
“You can see the personality of the guy just by his Twitter account. Have you tried looking at his Twitter account’s biography?” said Fernandez, obviously referring to how Reyes highlighted all of his personal achievements in his profile in the social networking site.
Incidentally, Reyes, who is also the head of Sports5, hasn’t fired a single tweet since he came under fire for the disappointing seventh-place finish of Gilas in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Fernandez also questioned Reyes' role in the controversy surrounding the cancelled exhibition game between Gilas and a team of NBA players that put top sports patron and national team chief backer Manny V. Pangilinan in a bad light.
“Yung sa NBA tune-up game na yun, PBA coach ka, hindi mo alam na bawal maglaro sa unsanctioned game ang mga players? Sino na naman may kasalanan dun?” he said.
“Sa totoo lang, I feel sorry for MVP kasi siya pa ang muntik na nalagay sa alanganin roon,” said Fernandez, a member of the last all-Filipino team to lift the Asian championship in 1973 in Manila.
Fernandez also lamented how Pangilinan was again put on the spot when he tried to appeal for the retention of Andray Blatche in the Asian Games-bound Gilas team after he was disqualified for failing to comply with the three-year residency rule for naturalized players.
“Yung pag-include niya na 'yun kay Blatche sa Asian Games team, 'yan yung hindi mo alam ang rules ng liga na sasalihan mo. Going to war without knowing the terrain and the armament he’ll use,” he said.
“Hindi mali yung sumubok si MVP na mag-appeal for Blatche, pero hindi rin siguro mali kung na-inform lang nila ng tama si MVP na nasa rules ng Asian Games ang three-year residency sa mga naturalized athletes,” added Fernandez.
“Sino ba nagpilit na i-line-up si Blatche? Si Chot rin, di ba?”
Asked if Reyes should be replaced, Fernandez said it was not up to him.
“It’s up to the management of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, it’s their responsibility. I may suggest something, pero it won’t matter. They have their own mind,” he said.
Here's a podcast of interview with Mon Fernandez:
But if and when Reyes is retained, will it be acceptable to him, Fernandez was asked.
“Sa totoo lang, nabalik na nga interest ko sa panonood ng basketball eh. Kaso pag ganun, siguro hindi na ko ulit manonood. Magtuturo na lang ako ng mga batang players dito sa Cebu at magbebenta na lang ng aking Suka ni El Presidente,” he said with laugh, referring to his popular vinegar brand.