CHICAGO - Those so-called "unwritten rules" in basketball are stupid, unnecessary.
The only rule that should be obeyed like religion is to play hard until the clocks melts down to zero.
The other corny stuff just leads to controversy and strife.
Take the case of North Port versus Blackwater the other night where Batang Pier head coach Pido Jarencio took exception to Bossing counterpart Ariel Vanguardia calling a timeout despite a 97-90 lead with just six seconds left.
[See Jarencio loses cool over Vanguardia's garbage-time timeout]
At the handshake line, Jarencio, whose college exploits at UST I adored and followed like a cult, was anything but diplomatic. With scorn all over his face, Pido bumped into Ariel using his belly as a body part of mass intimidation, goading him into a fight.
That's a clear foul. And when he added an insult referencing Vanguardia's late mother, the physical altercation turned flagrant.
"Minura niya ako," coach Ariel bared. Hearing Jarencio scream "Pu...ina mo!" in his face is where Vanguardia drew the line.
"Huwag naman murahin. That's below the belt Di niya ako palamon."
Look, I can understand Jarencio's frustrations. After a promising 2-0 start, the Batang Pier have lost two in a row and have assumed a familiar place near the bottom of the standings.
But there are other things to be mad about than pretending to be the sentinel guarding the last vestiges of basketball's purity.
The Batang Pier committed 20 turnovers while shooting just 40 percent from the field (34 of 85) and 22 percent from 3 (8 of 35). Jarencio should have directed his rage at those tepid numbers, not at a silly timeout.
Look, one can argue that coach Ariel may have appeared like a jerk by calling that timeout, but the rules allowed it and the quotient system is in play this conference, which motivated him to increase his team's winning margin.
Many assumed the game was already won at 97-90 with six ticks to go, but you have to remember that Blackwater had just emerged from the apocalypse of a 29-game losing streak, so there's no such thing as certain from their vantage point.
Much ado about nothing
Besides, there was a coaches meeting where the parties agreed to calling these controversial timeouts because of the quotient system.
"He (Pido) was the one who said let's not get mad. 'Aala ng samaan ng loob' if a coach asks for a (late) timeout. Ask coach Topez Robinson (Phoenix). Ask coach Jeff Cariaso (Converge). They were with me in the same meeting."
In other words, Jarencio knew that at some point, he'd cross this uneasy, uncomfortable bridge. And went ballistic anyway.
Vanguardia's late timeout was much ado about nothing.
So I'm perplexed by Jarencio's wild reaction. He not only knew about the memo, he appeared to have written it.