‘The moves that get coaches fired’: ex-PH team head coach dunks on Isko’s basketball-based justification for calling on Robredo to withdraw from the presidential race

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“Those are the moves that get coaches fired.” That is what Chot Reyes, former head coach of the Philippines’ national basketball team, Gilas Pilipinas, had to say in reaction to a journalist’s question about what professional coaches had to say about Manila Mayor Isko Moreno’s use of a nonsensical basketball analogy to justify his calls for Vice President Leni Robredo to withdraw from the race.

Moreno is one of 10 presidential candidates seeking the government’s top post in the country’s upcoming May elections. On Easter Sunday, he and fellow candidates Senator Ping Lacson and former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales held a rambling press conference where the mayor, among other things, asked Robredo — the opposition candidate and number two in the electoral polls — to “be a hero” and step down from the race for a better chance of defeating front-runner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr — aka the son of that dude.

The perception that the three male candidates, who are all far behind in the polls, were ganging up on Robredo did not sit well with much of the country’s electorate.


READ: Filipinos flood Twitter with ‘Leni Withdraw’ memes after lagging candidates gang up on Robredo

On Monday, the Manila mayor doubled down on his call for Robredo to withdraw from the elections by using a basketball analogy, calling it akin to a coach benching a player who can’t shoot.

“It was only a reaction to what Secretary Norberto Gonzales is saying… and it makes sense. Just like in basketball, if a player cannot shoot, you sub him immediately,” Moreno said in a mix of English and Filipino, referring to Gonzales’ statement about creating “another number two” to fight against Marcos Jr.

Interaksyon editor Camille Diola took to Twitter to ask about a far more accurate version of the analogy: “Can we get a reaction from a pro basketball coach to comment on Isko’s analogy: benching the top offensive player to let the score laggards pull three-pointers. How sound is that?”

Reyes, a five-time Philippine Basketball Association Coach of the Year, quickly responded:

In the latest Pulse Asia survey, Marcos still leads with 56 percent, although he suffered a four-point drop since their last poll. On the other hand, Robredo’s numbers surged by nine points to 24 percent. Moreno (8 percent), Lacson (2 percent), and Gonzales (0 percent) all trail far behind.

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