PBA commissioner Chito Salud stayed firm in his belief that officiating in the ongoing Philippine Cup semifinals is fair enough amidst allegations about biased calls.
“The referees will be firm, steadfast, and fair as they have been, so I call on the teams to focus on one thing and one thing alone: giving their best as they play the game on merits,” said Salud in a statement on Monday.
Salud made the remark to diffuse the tension between rival franchises San Miguel and Talk `N Text, which got involved in a heated word war over comments made by coach Jong Uichico and team owner Manny V. Pangilinan about officiating following the Tropang Texters’ 87-81 loss to the Beermen in Sunday’s Game Two.
Uichico was quick to lash at officiating shortly after the game, pointing out bad calls are ‘given when you’re playing against the San Miguel group.’
Pangilinan also joined the fray by taking to social networking site to complain about what he perceived had been bad calls by game officials that favored the Beermen.
“We can’t win these games with bad referee calls,” he tweeted on his official Twitter account@iammvp.
The San Miguel group definitely didn’t take things sitting down as team governor Robert Non hit back at Uichico - ironically a former San Miguel head coach – whom he accused of making 'unfounded and unfair' complaints about officiating in order to mask his own shortcomings.
Surprisingly, Salud mentioned no warning for Uichico over his allegations. A check with the PBA office also confirmed that the Talk 'N Text coach wasn't summoned for his controversial comments.
Instead, Salud said the heated competition in the semifinals is understandable, considering what’s at stake in the most prestigious of the league’s three conferences.
“Every game counts and every game lost may cause anguish and disappointment. And understandably so because all the semifinalists are highly competitive, super motivated, and evenly matched."
But the league chieftain also took the time to remind both teams that ‘the fans are supposed to be the real winners.’
“Our fans who deserve top-notch competition, played with the highest tenets of sportsmanship,” said Salud.