Much-maligned PBA referees find unlikely ally in Barako import McMorrow: 'They're great'
Barako Bull import Liam McMorrow says PBA refs 'are great.' Jerome Ascano

BELIEVE it or not, the much-maligned referees of the PBA have found one major backer in Barako Bull import Liam McMorrow.

Despite the Energy suffering their first loss in the Governors Cup on Wednesday night at the hands of San Miguel, McMorrow still had some nice few words to say about game officials compared to the referees in the National Basketball League in Canada, where he last saw action prior to his stint in the country.

“I love the refs here (in the PBA). I think they’re great,” said McMorrow after Barako Bull’s 116-113 loss to the Beermen that finally broke their unbeaten record in the season-ending tournament.

The 7-foot-2 import though admitted he still needs to learn and adjust on the way referees call the fouls in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league. 

“I gotta learn to play them (referees) because the guys (other PBA players) are gonna hold me all game. Sometimes they call, sometimes they don’t. So it’s pretty inconsistent,” he said.

[See Is Maierhofer 'shoe-palpal' legal? We ask a PBA official]

McMorrow simply laughed off the threat made by rugged San Miguel forward Gabby Espinas during the course of the game, saying he’s not afraid at all as the two players engaged in numerous physical plays especially in the second half.

“He (Espinas) said he’s gonna kill me. But I was laughing because the guys that talked the most, they don’t do anything,” said a smiling McMorrow.

Still, the good-natured Barako Bull import felt he can tolerate the officiating in the league.

“Overall, I think it’s pretty good refereeing,” he said.

That’s the exact opposite at how he sees games officiated in NBL-Canada, where he said referees are not certified by Fiba, contributing to the numerous inconsistent calls that led his team, the Halifax Rainmen, to skip the decisive Game Seven of the recent championship series.

“We (Rainmen management) sent stuff to Fiba to say, ‘Look at what they’re doing.’ The refs did nothing because they eject the guy for one game, then he’s back the next game. It’s like obvious flagrant fouls and trying to injure people,” the former Tennessee Tech big man said.

“They (NBL-Canada) gotta fix that. I don’t think I wanna play there again. I’m banned because we never really played Game Seven. They banned us and fined us. Ridiculous,” added the 27-year-old McMorrow.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @richava