Beyond the bum calls

By Ivan Saldajeno

I KNOW some are intrigued at my tweet, which can also be seen in my Facebook, saying that Gilas' loss to China is not just because of the controversial calls and non-calls against the team. To clarify, I am also stunned with the bum calls on Saturday night, but it was probably due to the fact that I'm a mathematical type of guy that I tweeted that. Anyway, here are the "other" reasons why Gilas lost.

Again, I'm not saying that the bum calls had nothing to do with the result, but conceding the Olympic slot to China by just 11 points means even if the referees continue in their spotty officiating, Gilas had a shot at stealing the win against a hostile Changsha crowd. Here are the problems, though.

First, China's shooters were connecting from deep. Li Gen made 3-of-4 treys, while Guo Ailun, who finished with a game-high 19 markers, made 2-of-4 triples.

On the other hand, Dondon Hontiveros, who went on fire against Japan on Friday, only made 2-of-6 long toms. Overall, Gilas was 6-of-24 from 22 feet.

Another thing: the iffy fouls sent China to the line 33 times, but the team only made 21. However, Gilas, which has decent charity shooters, only converted 15-of-26.

I also saw how China moved the ball well. China had 11 assists compared to only seven by Gilas. It just goes to show that the 2015 team was better from the 2013 team.

However, it still does discount the fact that the referees missed out on many calls. I clearly saw two instances.

The first was when Gabe Norwood was hit on the face after grabbing the rebound. The referee did not call the foul and handed Gilas the turnover (Norwood lost the ball in the process).

The other was when Jayson Castro was called for steps while dribbling. This one was more blatant.

I had not even mentioned the times that China fouled but no referee whistled the opponent.

The spotty officiating and even the pre-game events when the bus got stuck and the rim had to be fixed during warm-ups really cost Gilas a lot.

Also, we saw how the Chinese fans can be undercover hooligans by referring to an event when someone threw an object at Calvin Abueva when he went to the bench. I don't want to make another article either here or in my blog about China deserving to be FIBA World Cup host, but if that was a preview of what to expect in 2019, then FIBA should take action about it.

Despite the loss that many thought was "cooked" (I have to stay neutral at all times, although the fishy things were obvious), we have to still be proud of Gilas. Remember: the Olympic dream is still alive.

(Note: The opinion of the writer does not necessarily reflect that of Dugout Philippines.)

Follow the writer on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno