PBA says referee faces suspension for 'jump ball' blunder in Blackwater-Meralco match
The referee's mistake cost Leo Isaac and the Elite a shot at the game-winner late in regulation. Jerome Ascano

PBA commissioner Chito Salud is expected to mete out a suspension on referee Peter Balao, whose errant call in the dying seconds of regulation during the Blackwater-Meralco Philippine Cup game on Tuesday proved costly in the end for the Elite.

Media Bureau chief Willie Marcial admitted a review done by Salud and his staff showed Balao made the mistake of ignoring a timeout called by Blackwater center Jason Ballesteros with 2.2 seconds left in regulation and the score tied at 70-all.

Instead, Balao ruled a jump ball between Ballesteros and Meralco’s Sean Anthony, who tried to grab the ball away from the Elite big man. 

“Na-review na ni Com (Salud). Wala pang final, pero malamang may suspension,” Marcial told Spin.ph on Wednesday.

[See Hard-luck Blackwater left to rue blunder by referee]

Neither team got another attempt in regulation, paving the way for the overtime period, where Meralco got its second wind behind the heroics of John Wilson on the way to hammering out an 82-75 victory. 

Blackwater alternate board governor Silliman Sy said the anticipated suspension of Balao is a mere ‘consolation’ for the Elite, who remained winless three games into their maiden campaign in the league.

“Wala ka nang magagawa dun (errant call), but at least, the team is improving in a way,” said Sy, noting the team never gave up by rallying from an 18-point, third-quarter deficit to forge the overtime period.

However, Sy intends to bring up the matter of officiating when the league’s board convenes for the first time in the new season under chairman Patrick 'Pato' Gregorio.

“We will take it (officiating) up sa board because we want to discuss how we could possibly prevent that (errant calls in the endgame) from happening again,” added Sy, who serves as COO of Ever Bilena, owned by his brother Dioceldo Sy.

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