WITH a little over a minute left, Meralco guard Baser Amer hustled to secure the rebound off a Reynel Hugnatan miss but was bumped by Alaska's Jvee Casio in midair.
Amer held on to the ball, expecting a foul to be called by the referee. No whistle came and he was called for an out of bounds instead.
That crucial play led to a Vic Manuel basket followed by a booming corner triple by RJ Jazul that gave the Aces the 78-77 upperhand with 27.3 ticks left to play.
Alaska went on to win the game, 81-79, behind a late Chris Banchero three-pointer that completed the Aces' comeback from a nine-point deficit, 68-77, inside the final three minutes.
Amer lamented the non-call changed the complexion of the game.
"Foul talaga. Kahit mga teammates ko at mga coaches namin, (alam nila) foul talaga. Ako yung unang nakakuha ng bola tapos binangga niya ako," Amer said shortly after the loss.
"Doon ata naka-score ng layup si Manuel. Sayang, sayang," he added.
His teammate, Chris Newsome, agreed, but at the same time said Amer should've played on instead of expecting a whistle to sound.
"A little bit (changed the complexion of the game), but at the same time we gotta keep playing. We can't rely on the refs to call a foul and bail us out," Newsome said.
"It's one of those plays where you have to keep playing until you hear the whistle," Newsome continued. "He (Amer) kinda held on to the ball and expected a foul. In that situation if you don't hear the whistle you just gotta throw it back in and try to keep the ball alive. Hopefully, we correct it and not make the same mistake again."