PBA commissioner Chito Salud has handed referee Jimmy Mariano a seven-day suspension for lapses in judgment during the Barangay Ginebra-Air21 match on Wednesday night.
A league insider said a review of the game tape confirmed lapses in calls made against Air21 import Mike Dunigan, who was in foul trouble for much of the match before leaving the game for good with five minutes left.
The two other referees who worked the game, Nestor Sambrano and Rommel Gruta, were spared sanction by Salud.
Sources said Mariano is the sixth referee from the league's 15-man pool to be handed a ban in the mid-season Commissioner's Cup.
Mariano, incidentally, was the same referee banned by Salud for four game days for missing the Rob Reyes' cheap shot on a fallen Calvin Abueva during an Air21-Alaska match in November.
Dunigan, however, refused to comment on the referees' calls and instead focused on the positives at the end of an 84-90 setback at the hands of the surging Gin Kings.
“Really can’t comment on that. (I’m) at a loss for words on that subject,” said Dunigan, a top candidate for naturalization for the Gilas Pilipinas national team program.
“I can’t complain about the game really,” said Dunigan while on vacation in Tagaytay. “We all saw the negatives. And all I saw was a lot of positives (in the game)."
Dunigan went on to praise Air21's locals for fighting to the bitter end even with him on the sidelines.
“I see I pose a bigger threat. Just nice to see my teammates hold their own with me playing a season low in minutes,” added the 6-10 Chicago, Illinois native.