NCAA imposes harsher penalties to discourage 'Hack-a-Shaq' strategy
NCAA commissioner Andy Jao says fouls away from play inside the final two minutes of games will be ruled as unsportsmanlike, leading to two free throws and ball possession for opponents. Dante Peralta

THE NCAA will revert to its old rule of slapping harsher penalties on teams that intentionally foul away from the ball in the last two minutes for Season 92 that begins on June 25 at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

League commissioner Andy Jao said players who commit such violations will be assessed an unsportsmanlike foul resulting in a free throw plus ball possession, unlike last season when such infractions were considered ordinary fouls and results to just two freebies if the team is in penalty.

"It will be implemented this year," said Jao.

The league obviously didn't like last year's rule allowing teams to foul away from the ball in the final minutes, which allowed teams to intentionally send poor free throw shooters to the line.

The tactic is popularly called the 'Hack-A-Shaq' in the NBA after former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, who was the victim of a fouling spree at the end of games because of his atrocious percentage from the stripe.

"It has become a joke and we don't want it to happen again this year," said Management Committee chair Jose Mari Lacson of host San Beda.

Jao also said he has tapped officials from three referee associations to officiate this year's games.

"I will tap 10-11 referees from Nabrascu, eight to nine from Nabro and three or four veteran officials to handle the games this year," said Jao. 

Although the game officials will come from three groups, Jao said all have been accredited by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.

"All of them are SBP-accredited," said Jao.

Jao said he will have several dialogues with players and coaches to clear up the air on the new rules as well as other issues.

"I will sit down with everyone as often as I can and ask them to cooperate," he said.

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