It was the 3rd quarter. The Slingers were trailing the Beermen, 39-47. It was the Beermen’s possession.
After a rebound, the 6’6 Beermen American import, Gabe Freeman, dribbled the ball up-court with the 5’10 Slingers’ local player Desmond Oh prepped up to guard him. As Freeman approached Desmond, he passed the ball. And, as he did, he gave Desmond a hard shove that landed the Slingers’ guard on the floor. No foul was called.
Being the tenacious player that he is, Desmond quickly got right back up to guard his defender who was now in the paint. A second later, Freeman threw a punch at Desmond that sent him down onto the floor once again.
Foul on Desmond Oh(?), says the referee and the FIBA stats page! Foul called on Desmond Oh for receiving a punch from Freeman!
The play was stopped, but Freeman was not done.
This time, Freemen turned and tried to walk into Desmond who was still on the floor. As he did, he stared the guard down and kicked a right foot straight into Desmond’s groin area . The Slingers’ guard resisted, while in the process, causing Freeman to momentarily trip over him.
But Freeman was still not done. Giving no chance for Desmond to break out of the position, the Beermen American import shoved a full palm into the Slingers guard’s face, shocking the home crowd.
What Freeman did was absolutely unnecessary. In all honesty, what could Desmond do but resist with Freeman coming at him?
At this junction, the referee panicked and did nothing, while Rashad Jones-Jennings of the Slingers had to pull Freeman away. Desmond Oh, despite getting the worse of it, was tough as a bull. He got right up and walked away from the situation.
While the commentators were saying, “This is probably the easiest call the officials would have”, no fouls were called at that junction. Nothing.
The refs decided that this was too difficult a call to make that they had to send the teams to their benches for them to have a discussion.
This was when Kyle Jeffers thought it was enough. He went at Freeman in defense of his teammate, resulting in another altercation which had to be broken up by Asi Tauvala.
The game was stopped for a few minutes while the referees pondered hard what call to make.
Then, they decided (to be nice to the Beermen).
There would be no flagrant fouls or technical fouls. Freeman would pick up only a personal foul, and it would be Beermen’s ball! The game continues.
While the Slingers had the ball, the San Miguel crowd jeered and boo-ed the Slingers. This was until Kyle Jeffers got an offensive rebound, and Freeman was there again throw a full-arm smack into the big man’s face, resulting in him tripping over his teammate, Jones-Jennings.
This time the Slingers’ centre decided to go at Freeman himself. That became the third altercation of the game. In the process, Jeffers drew a technical foul.
After the episode, the refs decided to be slightly nice and upgraded Freeman’s foul to a flagrant foul to give the Jeffers two free throws and a possession.
When Jeffers was shooting his free-throws, what shocked us more was Freeman inciting a shameless crowd to jeer for Jeffers and cheer for his actions.
Jeffers converted 1 of 2 freethrows.
The Beermen then proceeded to win the game, as the Beermen fans gave Freeman a hero’s welcome. Jeffers then went on to finish the game with 20 points and 12 rebounds, as compared to Freeman’s pathetic 8 points and 6 rebounds.
Freeman actually was proud of himself, for his 8 points and for bullying a local player almost half a foot shorter. Did I mention, the local boy had shut him down to just 8 points for the entire night? He was so harassed by the stingy defense of the D-glove that all he could do was to push him down and step over him.
And he was cheering as if, it was he that led the Beermen to win the game. He couldn’t even instigate a fight with someone his own size.
Game over, Freeman! Game over!
I don’t blame him actually.
As we have realised from the ABL Head-to-Head (against Kyle Jeffers), this guy probably hasn’t gone to school, and so probably doesn’t have much of an IQ to know what he was doing.
“What currency is used in Malaysia?” A: Rupiah!
“What is the world’s largest Ocean?” A: Indian Ocean.
“Who was the first American president?” A: Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln.
“Where will the 2016 Summer Olympics be held?” A: I don’t even know about that one either.
Let’s not blame him (And I really hope ABL doesn’t shame him further by asking him such questions). So, he probably thought scoring 8 points as an import (not even Jones-Jennings with 8 points and 16 rebounds) and getting into a fight with someone smaller than his size was something he could be so proud of that he could now hang a medal up in his living room.
And a whole crowd of Beermen fans in the Singapore Indoor Stadium agrees and even worships him.
Well…what can I say?
To them, he was momentarily a “hero”. To me, he’s worse than a thug!
P.S: @ABL, if you think what Gabe Freeman did was acceptable, or only warranted a personal foul, shame on you! I remember the league starting off by handing a suspension to Richard Smith. What is happening right now?
Written by: Wy C
-Photo credits to ABL and Francis Espeleta-