Converge’s Jamaal Franklin recently caused controversy in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governor’s Cup when he refused to take shots during a game against Barangay Ginebra.
Franklin, who is the league’s leading scorer with an average of 37.3 points per game, took only five shots and didn’t attempt any in the third period. Franklin’s apparent lack of effort was puzzling, especially given that he had recently scored 57 points in a game just two days before.
Franklin was allegedly asked to “share the ball” with his teammates, which he may have taken as a personal affront. “May mga ibang plays kasi na nira-run na para talaga sa kanya, pero hindi niya ginawa. Pinapasa pa niya sa iba,” a team insider said.
Coach Aldin Ayo expressed his surprise at Franklin’s actions, saying, “It’s either he takes 36 (shots) or he takes five. So ano ba talaga?” He added that there would be changes for the playoffs.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone was also surprised by Franklin’s lack of aggression but said that it wasn’t his team’s problem. “If he wants to take 50 shots or zero shots, it doesn’t matter to us. We’re just going out there and try to get the win,” Cone said.
Other players were also surprised by Franklin’s performance. Ginebra’s Justin Brownlee said, “Obviously there’s something wrong between Franklin and his team. But we just came out here to play basketball and win a game.”
Franklin’s behavior was reminiscent of an incident involving Kobe Bryant during Game 7 of the 2006 Western Conference first-round series between the Lakers and the Phoenix Suns. Bryant refused to shoot and attempted only three times in the entire second half. Although Bryant finished with 24 points, the Lakers lost, 121-90.
Despite Franklin’s poor showing, his team remains in the playoffs, but they will need to work on their team dynamics to stand a chance against tougher opponents.