MAHINDRA coach Chris Gavina questioned the costly flagrant foul on James White that proved to be the turning point in their 93-86 loss to Ginebra in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday night.
With the Enforcer down by seven points with six minutes and 23 seconds left and looking to launch a last-ditch stand, White was called for a landing-spot violation after challenging what was initially a three-point shot by Sol Mercado, who ended up making a drop pass to teammate Japeth Aguilar down low.
That call kept White on the bench for three minutes, leaving Mahindra without its import in a stretch where it had hoped to move into a position to steal the game.
Gavina was understandably unhappy.
“That was one of the most unusual calls I have ever seen where on a pass, you got called for a landing-spot violation,” Gavina said. “You got to live with it, but it’s one of those calls that you just lose your hair over when you watch it again over and over.”
“It was big losing him for three minutes especially when we were down by that many at that point,” he added. “That’s one of those plays that could really swing the momentum.”
Mercado split his charities, but the Gin Kings gained another possession after that as they extended the lead to 12 points, enough cushion to weather a late Enforcer rally.
“I can’t really take it back, but I hope they review it and at least explain to us why was it called — on a pass,” Gavina said with a smile. “Just call a regular foul.”
“In a great game like that, when you remove an import, for me, it kind of takes away the essence of what was happening at the moment,” he added. “It was a great, entertaining game for the fans and I just wanted to keep that excitement going, and when you take our import for three minutes like that, it takes the thrill out.”
White returned exactly at the three-minute mark and restored the impact he has made as the athletic import finished with 23 points and 13 boards.