“Hindi po namin nakita!”
This was the response of the referees to Barangay Ginebra governor Robert Non when confronted about the controversial decision to award possession to Talk N’ Text despite Ryan Reyes clearly touching the ball last during a crucial strech of their game on Sunday night.
The former PBA chairman was clearly fuming as he approached each of the three referees to protest two crucial calls which he deemed became a turning point in Ginebra’s 87-94 loss to Talk n’ Text on Sunday.
“Ewan ko galit na galit talaga kami kanina. Kitang kita naman na amin dapat ang bola, tapos sasabihin nila hindi nila nakita,” said Non, still shaking in anger when reached by Spin.ph a few minutes after the game.
“Paano nilang hindi makikita yun eh kami nga na nasa kabilang dulo, nakita namin. Nakapikit ba sila?” added San Miguel Corporation's head of basketball operations, who also claimed a 24-second violation committed on Talk 'N Text should have been called in the same sequence.
“Dalawa nga dapat yun eh. 24-second violation na rin yun eh,” said Non.
Here's a video of Non and Ginebra team manager Al Chua confronting the referees after the crucial call:
Asked if they intend to file a protest, Non was non-committal but instead aired the hope that a sanction from the PBA Commissioner’s Office will be handed down as soon as possible.
Even Talk 'N Text coach Norman Black can only shake his head when asked by mediamen about the ‘favor’ his team received from the blunder call, at a time when the Kings were mounting a rally.
“I think it should have been their (Ginebra) ball,” Black said. “But that’s one call the entire game. If you will go back to the game, I don’t think my import fouled, but he was called for a foul.
"It’s the breaks of the game, and it happens,” added the former PBA grand slam champion coach.
Meanwhile, one of the referees interviewed by Spin.ph bared that they only gave that response to the Ginebra bench so as not to prolong the debate.
“Para hindi na lang po gumulo. Ganun na lang po sinabi namin,” said the official who refused to be named. “Baka lumala lang po kasi ang sitwasyon eh!”
Ginebra supporters at the Smart Araneta Coliseum went on a rage after seeing the replay of the sequence which clearly showed that Reyes touched the ball last.
The officials who whistled in the Ginebra-Talk n’ Text game are Art Herrera, Emmanuel Tankion and Rommel Gruta.
A PBA official said a review of the game will be done immediately on Monday morning by Commissioner Chito Salud and his technical team.
Salud is no stranger to suspending game officials found to have committed glaring mistakes.
Early on Sunday, Salud handed down a decision banning referee Rodito Marabe for two weeks or seven game days due to "lapses in judgment" and relegated Armando Guevarra and Reynaldo Yante to the D-League for further training.