PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – There’s an unwritten rule among coaches when it comes to calling timeouts and making one when the game was already decided is a sign of disrespect.
But Harry Savaya, a Lebanese coach, who now calls the shot for the men’s and women’s basketball teams of Lebanon, crossed the line.
With his team on top, 79-68, with only 20 seconds left in the match, Savaya issued for time as if he was adding insult to the injury the Cambodians had inflicted on Gilas Pilipinas in a highly-emotional encounter in the men’s basketball competition of the Southeast Asian Games at the Elephant Hall 2 of Morodok Techo National Stadium.
His actions drew the ire of the entire Philippine squad, which had already accepted defeat, but felt insulted when the coach called for a time out.
From coaches Chot Reyes, Tim Cone and the rest of the staff, the players, in particular Chris Ross, the team’s eldest statesman, everyone was pissed off from the Philippine side.
A war of words escalated among players and coaches of the Gilas camp and Cambodia as opposing squads barely shook hands when the game ended.
Instead, the organizers had decided to separate both the teams to prevent things from escalating even more.
“You all saw what happened,” said Reyes right after the team’s loss. “It’s just the unwritten rule, it’s coaching. It’s not even coaching ethics, but ethics. If the other coach wants to make full of himself that’s up to him, not our problem.”
“But his actions will speak a lot more than anything to say. His actions will speak a lot more about him and his character, more than I can ever say in words,” added Reyes.
On Wednesday, Savaya was thrown out of the game after incurring two technical fouls during Gilas Pilipinas women’s 114-54 demolition of his squad, the Cambodia cagebelles.