No real heartbreak; only very deep disappointment
The chubby basketball fanatic, too young for a legit heartache, could only blurt out his disappointment.
“Sabog, palpak (scattered, crushed),” Captain Coby cried upon rising from his seat with over two minutes left in the Philippines-Korea Asian Games quarterfinal basketball match in Jakarta on Monday, a holiday.
The boy had refused to follow the running scores. He clearly felt betrayed.
A regular in the Alaska summer basketball camp at Aquinas School San Juan, Coby had hoped for a glowing finish—never a droop—after the Philippine team sent hopes rising with its brilliant first two games in the 18th Asiad.
Accounts from the game site said it was a close match, with Korea coming from behind, catching up, and breaking loose midway in the closing quarter.
That was what the running scores would show. But a closer look, a complete game assessment, would tell a different story. It was never a close contest. There has always been great disparity on both ends of the court.
There had actually loomed a close and thrilling finish.
Korea, after a calculating start, fell behind early, yielded the half by two points. There were also thrilling exchanges, the Philippines, giving it all, while drawing points from unlikely sources.
Unfortunately, the hardcourt instantly turn turbulent for the Philippines, after Korea started to frolic, repeatedly grabbing offensive rebounds unopposed, while streaking with unreachable three-point baskets.
Looking back, it’s easy to believe coach Hur Jae of Korea had decided to treat the Philippine game like a chess match. He opted for a calculating start, pacing and patiently reading patterns, before subjecting the opponents to what could amount to an unerring checkmate.
As a result, the Philippine team finished confused, tired and scattered.
Coach Yeng Guiao did not tarry and owned up to the fault. He claimed he had never expected a choking zone defense from the Koreans.
It’s of course doubtful if they could’ve achieved a different result, even if the team scouts had done their job.
After a few minutes of fame, Guiao is back on the plain, a humbled medal hopeful now left praying for a phony fifth place finish.
No real heartbreak, there. He lost to a greater coach, his team bowing to a vastly superior and superbly motivated outfit.
Anyway, one fellow truly disappointed should be NBA man Jordan Clarkson.
Pressed hard on the wings, he missed all his four shots at the start. He was only 10 of 25 from the field, but nevertheless topscored for the Philippines.
Clarkson, upon arrival in Jakarta last week, said he was in the Asiad to win a medal.
He did not look anything special on Monday.
At least, he has learned how unevenly basketball affairs are run in the Philippines.
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