Who’s afraid of the Fiba?
HERE’S part of a disturbing report from veteran sportswriter Joaquin Henson on the Fiba Asia Championship title game in China on Saturday: “Rowdy Chinese fans behind the Gilas bench kept screaming unprintables at the Filipino players, even challenging them to a fistfight. In the lower box section, a group of Chinese fans kept raising their middle fingers and shouting nasty things at a small group of Filipino supporters.”
Well, the objective spectator didn’t have to know the Chinese language to understand the roaring criminal foulness being heaped upon the Gilas Pilipinas team from around the playing court.
Henson added that an accredited Chinese photographer had to be restrained from scuffling with a Filipino lensman who was threatened for shielding Gilas player Calvin Abueva from crowd abuse.
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The Fiba, if it had ever tried, could not do anything about the patented rudeness of the pernicious Chinese fans.
At the same time, though, a question on the fairness of the Fiba was raised, based on what Henson had observed: “During the warm-ups on the court before the game, the rhythm of the Philippine team was interrupted when, all of a sudden, maintenance men showed up with a ladder to remove the net from the ring and install new strings.”
Meanwhile, China was taking practice shots and raising a nice sweat; Gilas had to be content dribbling against each other, stretching and walking around, “wondering what the heck was going on.”
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There was a foul-up with the bus that took the Gilas team to the gym.
The national team was also made to play in succession two very late games immediately before the championship, thereby depriving the players of enough time to rest and rehydrate.
In the end, Philippine coach Tad Baldwin had to take everything stoically by saying it was normal to play China under “difficult conditions” in its homecourt.
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Here at home, sidestreet fans were one in decrying the biased calls and non-calls that enormously aided the cause of the China team.
A senior citizen inside a Mercury Drug outlet, who claimed having been stationed in Beijing, said the Chinese were definitely taller and stronger, what with their great diet, stock, not to mention the strong martial arts basics that helped the players operate evenly and sharply on both feet.
“But will the Fiba not do something proper after all the atrocity the hosts had committed against the Philippine team?” said the exasperated senior spectator in spectacles and plain white T-shirt.
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He likewise wondered if Fiba would’ve still awarded the staging of the 2019 World Cup of basketball championship to China if this insufferable rudeness of the Chinese had been bared ahead.
The Chinese, he said, was always ready and willing to lose his soul to amass great wealth and gain supremacy everywhere, by hook or by crook.
All in the genes and upbringing?