Basketball coaches slam temporary court, dunk on the heat

By AFP   May 13, 2023 | 07:38 pm PT
Basketball coaches slam temporary court, dunk on the heat
Vietnam (R) play Philippines in the women's basketball 3x3 event final at SEA Games 32 in Cambodia, May 7, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Hieu Luong
Basketball coaches at the Southeast Asian Games have complained about the quality of the court, blaming the temporary linoleum surface for injuries to players.

The biennial regional sports meet in Phnom Penh is being played mostly at the brand new, China-funded Morodok Techo National Sports Complex.

While the site has a 60,000-seat athletics stadium and an aquatics center, it lacks a venue specifically for basketball, one of the region's most hotly contested sports.

Games have been held in a multipurpose sports hall, with large linoleum tiles put down in lieu of the traditional polished wood.

There have also been problems with heat, because of insufficient air conditioning in the room, which is not fully enclosed.

And coaches are not happy.

"There's no way we should be playing top-level international competitions on linoleum," said Philippines coach Chot Reyes, after his side's 105-45 win over Singapore.

He added that such tournaments also "should be played in air-conditioned gyms. Because we all know moisture and perspiration... makes it very slippery."

He ran off a list of injured players from his country's men's and women's teams, adding: "The other countries have lost players as well."

The Singapore camp agreed with Reyes' assessment, saying players had been injured because of the conditions.

"For the first two games, each game we got an injury," said assistant coach Pang Chin Hong.

"Singapore women's team, one girl it's (an injured) meniscus."

"We are quite upset," he said, showing AFP a video of a women's team match in which a full linoleum board briefly flipped up entirely.

"It's really very dangerous," he added.

The Philippines' win was a second in a row as they bounced back from a shock opening-game defeat to Cambodia, and put them on the cusp of the semi-finals.

Philippine teams have traditionally dominated SEA Games basketball, but fell to Indonesia in the final last time out in Hanoi.

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