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Philippines coach slams ref choice after basketball loss

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NBA player Jordan Clarkson top-scored for the Philippines with 28 points. © AFP / Lillian SUWANRUMPHA

JAKARTA, Indonesia, Aug 22 – The Philippines’ basketball coach said a referee from “Chinese territory” should not have officiated his side’s narrow loss to China at the Asian Games, querying the number of fouls his side was awarded.

A Philippines side bolstered by newly arrived NBA star Jordan Clarkson were pipped 82-80 in Tuesday’s thrilling match after China scored two free throws awarded by the Hong Kong referee with just 13 seconds left.

“They let a Hong Kong referee, which is also Chinese territory, referee against us,” said Yeng Guiao. “And they gave them 39 free throws and they gave us only 15, no?”

“So I thought somebody from Hong Kong which is controlled by China should not referee a China game,” Guaio told ABS-CBN on Wednesday, referring to chief official Yuen Chun Yip.

Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous Special Administrative Region of China, but competes separately at major sports events including the Olympics and Asian Games.

The loss leaves the Philippines relying on results elsewhere in their group to progress to the knockouts of Asia’s regional Olympics.

The Philippines side are no strangers to controversy, and almost did not attend the tournament after having 10 players and two coaches suspended by world body FIBA following an on-court brawl in a World Cup qualifier against Australia.

Cleveland Cavalier guard Clarkson only joined up with the team last week after the NBA released him to play in the event in a dramatic late U-turn.

Clarkson top-scored in the match against China, with 28 points including five three-pointers. But he was sidelined with cramp during the final quarter, before returning to give away the two vital free throws that ultimately handed China victory.

“Jordan Clarkson cramped so we had to put him on the bench for several minutes,” said Guiao. “He was really in pain. He was not hundred percent when he got back.”

“But those are the breaks of the game, no?”

The Philippines had clawed their way back from 72-62 down to lead 77-80 with just over a minute to go, before letting the win slip out of their hands.

“We committed some mistakes in the last 60 seconds,” admitted Guiao.

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