MANILA, Philippines – Mikee Romero, co-owner of the AirAsia-Philippine Patriots, yesterday expressed dissatisfaction over the team’s poor performance that resulted to a heart-breaking, 83-76, double overtime loss to the Chang Thailand Slammers in the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Season 2 in Bangkok last Sunday.
“I’m so dismayed with the way they played last Sunday. We were outplayed, outhustled and outrebounded,” said Romero, who co-owns the team with businessman Tony Boy Cojuangco. “We are known for our never-say-die attitude but last Sunday they showed none of it.”
Romero, whose Harbour Centre team established a record of seven straight PBL championships, also noted that while the other teams, especially Thailand, are playing with a sense of urgency of late, the Phl Patriots appeared to be losing their zest.
“We can’t retain our championship if we continue to play this kind of basketball. We are carrying the country’s flag in this tournament, this is not an ordinary tournament because the country’s honor is at stake here,” said Romero.
Save for Egay Billones who tallied 23 points, Romero scored the locals for playing so-so basketball.
“The way they played the last time, it seemed they lacked the character that I want for a team,” said Romero.
With the loss, the Patriots blew away the opportunity to secure the homecourt advantage in the finals as they dropped to 8-5, two games behind the Slammers, who improved to 10-3.
Romero also challenged the coaching staff to do their share despite the foul tactics of some teams to stop the Patriots from making it two in a row in the six-nation tournament.
“I don’t mind if coach Louie (Alas) will just use six to seven players as long they will play as hard as they can for the rest of the season,” said Romero.