THE PBA has cracked the whip on the referee that made the crucial foul on Gabe Norwood late in Rain or Shine's loss to Barangay Ginebra on Sunday night, suspending him for three weeks for what the league admitted was a "gross error in judgment."
League commissioner Chito Salud said referee Jun Marabe was suspended for "non-observance of his (game official) respective areas of jurisdiction to make a call and his disregard of the league’s officiating guidelines on loose ball situations."
Marabe, who the league said was not in a position to make the call, was meted a three-week suspension by the Commissioner’s Office or a total of 11 playdates.
"As a result of the foregoing transgressions, it is the finding of this office that (Marabe) grossly erred in judgment when he assessed that play of Norwood on LA Tenorio to be a foul," the league said in a statement.
The game was still in the balance, with Ginebra leading by just a point, 95-94, with 16.5 seconds left, when Norwood appeared to cleanly grab the ball away from Tenorio during a rebound play. However, Marabe, who wasn't even the referee closest to the play, stepped in and called a foul.
The foul led to two penalty free throws by Tenorio and a three-point lead for the Kings, who eventually won the game, 98-94, before a crowd of over 14,000 fans at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Marabe, a Class C2 referee who has been in the league for three years, was the lead referee on the play, but a video review showed his view of the Norwood-Tenorio play was blocked and the two other referees had a much clearer view of the action.
Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao said he appreciated the swift action made by commissioner Salud, but nonetheless rued that nothing can be changed to reverse the outcome.
“We appreciate the effort of the commissioner to crack down on bad officiating, but the damage has been done,” Guiao said in a talk with Spin.ph.
"That call robbed us of the chance to win a game. Sayang, it was a great game (before) a great crowd. Tapos sa huli, it was the referees who decided the outcome. They ruined a highly competitive, well-played game."
Guiao even joked that perhaps the league should order a replay of the match, like what the UAAP board did with the Far Eastern University-National University match in the college league.
"Ang ganda ng laban namin (ng Ginebra)," he said. "Kikita pa ang PBA kapag naglaban kami uli."