WHAT a difference a game makes.
After a physical, heated battle in Game Two, the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series between Alaska and GlobalPort turned ho hum in Game Three, which hardly escalated except for Terrence Romeo getting ejected.
The referees were on their toes, so much so that they seemed to call an infraction even if you just a blink an eye.
A perfect example was Calvin Abueva, who was slapped a technical foul for simply letting his tongue out, directed at the Globalport bench and team governor Erick Arejola (who he had a run-in with in Game One), after making a basket in the first quarter.
“I thought it was a quick whistle, but it was probably they wanted to make sure nothing happened,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “The league has the right to do that.”
[See Referees' calls leave coaches Guiao, Austria in a state of confusion]
Even Abueva himself was surprised when he was slapped with a ‘T.’
“Hindi ko naman alam na ganun. Buti na lang hindi ako ejected,” he said.
Although the technical foul came with 54 seconds to go in the first period and Alaska leading, 23-13, the Aces were able to keep their composure and held on for the win.
“Medyo nakaka frustrate, pero stay focus pa rin kaya nakuha namin itong game na ito,” added ‘The Beast.’
Compton's comment came in the wake of a Game Two that saw 13 personalities getting fined, with Abueva getting the brunt with a P41,600 penalty.
“He’s a lightning rod for attention,” Compton said of Abueva, stressing they don’t condone his action.
“We don’t encourage that kind of stuff,” the American coach said. “Calvin’s just playing hard and when people are talking to him, he responds, so I’m sure after what happened in Game Two, the league wanted to be really strict with anything that would go on to make sure walang gulo.”
Batang Pier forward Jay Washington felt the officials controlled the game better.
“I thought they (referees) did a better job today,” the Filipino-American big man said. “As a player, you could tell it was pretty even on both sides.”