IT was one rare call which went Alaska’s way on a night when the Aces got the short end of officiating.
Aces coach Luigi Trillo made this stand on Saturday, insisting that the focus on the goaltending violation called on Kelly Williams in the final 28 seconds of their game against Talk `N Text on Friday was only magnified since the play occurred in the final seconds of Alaska’s thrilling 94-92 win.
Lost in the wake of the controversy that resulted in the six-game day suspension of referee Rey Yante was the obvious discrepancy on fouls called between the two teams, Trillo said.
Trillo pointed out that game statistics revealed the Aces were assessed a total of 26 fouls, leading to 32 free throw attempts by the Tropang Texters, who converted 25 of them.
For their part, the Aces went to the stripe just 13 times and made eight.
“If you look at the final situation, we got the short end of the calls,” the 37-year-old Trillo told Spin.ph. “We felt there were some calls that went their (Tropang Texters) way.”
Talk ‘N Text team manager Aboy Castro, however, came to the team's defense, saying its 32 free throw attempts were the result of the Tropang Texters’ new approach to the game under comebacking coach Norman Black.
“Even in our last game against Rain or Shine, it’s obvious we’re now a different team. We're pounding the ball more inside,” explained Castro.
Trillo said not calling a violation on Williams would have been unfair to the Aces, who launched a big fourth-quarter fightback led by new starting guard JVee Casio that wiped away an 11-point Talk 'N Text lead.
Trillo also insisted that from his point of view the referees made the right call, saying the ball was clearly on the downward path when the 6-foot-7 Talk ‘N Text forward swooped in to swipe the ball away on a lay-up by Alaska’s Cyrus Baguio.
Casio agreed with his coach.
“Nasa gitna ako, and I saw it parang tumama sa board. I think it’s a good call,” said the streak-shooting guard, who torched the Tropang Texters for four three-pointers in the final four minutes and also made the game-winner.
Trillo said the goaltending call was a “magnified play” because it happened when the outcome of the game was on the line.
“That was a magnified play because it happened at a crucial time. Of course, I’m not saying that what the referee did was wrong. But they (Tropang Texters) just don’t know how many calls they got because you can see a lot of non-calls during the game,” he added.
As to the suspension meted out on Yante by the league, Trillo said: “Maybe, Commissioner (Chito) Salud wants to crack the whip to make them (referees) better. His purpose there was probably because he wants consistency.”