Black recalls old PH-China duel: ‘Refs not a factor before’
CHANGSHA CITY, China – Team Philippines vs China – the second act for an Asian championship on Saturday night – had the Filipinos with a better chance to win than the first installment that took place 25 years ago.
“In Beijing in 1990, were blown out right from the start,” Norman Black, one of Tab Baldwin’s assistant today and Robert Jaworski’s chief lieutenant back then, told Filipino scribes just after a 78-67 loss to the Chinese in the Fiba Asia Olympic Qualifier Finals. “We were much more competitive today.”
“In my opinion, we didn’t (get a fair shake in officiating on Saturday),” Black said. “But we’re in China. You have to expect that we are not going to get the calls, but I thought they played well, better than us.”
Back in 1990, when the Philippines first fielded pros internationally in the advent of open basketball in the world, Jaworski formed a team that was led by four-time PBA MVP Ramon Fernandez and the young superstars like Benjie Paras and Alvin Patrimonio.
The Filipinos breezed their way into the title match of the Asian Games, winning their first three games by an average of 24 points. However, they lost two games to the Chinese–the first by an eye-popping margin (125-60) in group play and then later on the gold medal match, 90-74.
Still, the silver-medal finish was the Philippines’ best since ruling the 1962 Asian Games.
“I don’t think it (officiating and home court) were factors back then,” Black said of the lopsidedness of those two results. “The refs never became factors in those games.
“It was unlike today (Saturday) when the game was pretty close,” said Black. “It (gold medal this year) was always within reach.”
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