DID Rafi Reavis touch the rim when he made the game-saving play that preserved San Mig Coffee's 92-91 victory over Barako Bull on Sunday night?
Barako Bull big man Enrico Villanueva posed the question on Monday as he explained his vigorous opposition to the non-call on Reavis' 'goaltending' violation that marred the final moments of the PBA Philippine Cup match.
The 6-5 Energy Cola forward was at the center of the dispute, having taken the potential game-winning shot for Barako Bull in the closing seconds which Reavis tapped away while the ball was clearly above the cylinder.
Villanueva said he was very much aware of the Fiba rule which allows players to touch the ball after the first bounce - a rule which the PBA has adopted and has since enforced since the 2006-2007 season.
But Villanueva said his bone of contention was that if Reavis' hand had any contact with either the rim or the net while making the game-saving play, the San Mig center should have been called for goaltending.
“I’m aware of the rule. I just felt that it wasn’t done properly,” Villanueva told Spin.ph on Monday.
“I might be mistaken but what I thought was that a player can’t hit or touch any part of the basket when doing it. It has to be clearly an above-the-rim swipe. If they reviewed it and it was clear (that Reavis did not touch the basket) then I have no qualms about it at all.”
Top league officials confirmed to Spin.ph that Villanueva was right: If Reavis' hand had any contact with the basket during the play, the referees should've called a goaltending violation on the San Mig center.
Villanueva also had a good vantage point on the play and therefore his question is valid.
However, his contention may be moot and academic since Barako Bull management has decided against putting the game under protest or seeking a second review of the play through replays.
See related story: Barako Bull decides against filing protest
Meanwhile, other players have their own opinions on the controversial play.
Rain or Shine’s Gabe Norwood stood by the referess’ non-call. “I thought it was a clean play. Rafi has been doing that for years now. Even guys like (former Alaska import) Diamon Simpson were doing the same thing.”
The high-leaping 6-foot-5 Norwood added that the rule has also come in handy for him in the past.
“I have no problem with the rule. I’ve had many putbacks and offensive rebounds that would have been offensive goaltending if the rules were different and never heard anyone complain before.”
While Barangay Ginebra’s Dylan Ababou is in favor of the rule, he thinks what Reavis did was illegal.
“Aware ako (sa rule), pero hindi legal yung ginawa ni Reavis kasi ang kuwento sa akin nasa rim pa daw yung bola so hindi siya dapat galawin.”
“Okay lang yun rule basta wala ng contact yung bola sa rim, pwede na tapikin,” the former University of Santo Tomas stalwart added.