INCHEON, South Korea – Chot Reyes, it turned out, was not the only one left fuming by the schedule of the Asian Games basketball competitions.
Iran counterpart Mehmed Becirovic said he is just as puzzled with the way games were arranged here which saw his team pitted against the Philippines so early in the tournament.
The Slovenian coach said the clash between Iran and Gilas Pilipinas, two of the best teams in Asia, should have happened later in the meet and not right on the second day of the preliminary round as was the case on Thursday.
Iran, expected to challenge for the gold medal here, had to sweat before beating a gutsy Gilas five, 68-63.
“This game is supposed to happen on the sixth or seventh game. The schedule is messed up. Two teams from the world championship, playing the best basketball and representing Asia, they play in the second game,” said Becirovic.
“I don’t know who makes the schedule. Maybe he is not in basketball,” said the Iran coach, drawing laughter from reporters during the press conference that followed the match.
Reyes was the first to question the way games were scheduled here by organizers, saying a match-up between Iran and the Philippines early in the preliminaries definitely perplexed him.
He even commiserated with India, who Gilas beat during its first game, 85-76, after playing four games in as many days dating back to the qualifiers.
A sweep of their Group E preliminaries meant the Iranians will have an early quarterfinal match-up against defending gold medalist China, which topped Group C.
The Iran-China match will be played on Saturday.
Still, Becirovic said Iran still has a lot to improve after his team had to rally in the stretch run to survive Gilas.
“I’m happy that we won the game. But still, we have a lot of things to improve if we want to win the gold,” said Becirovic.