Nash Racela glad refs finally keeping an eye on Fajardo fouls; Austria begs to disagree
"There are a lot of times na supposedly my foul, pero di natatawag,” says SMB coach Leo Austria when asked about June Mar Fajardo's foul trouble. Jerome Ascano

TNT KaTropa coach Nash Racela and San Miguel Beer counterpart Leo Austria aired contrasting opinions on how the referees see June Mar Fajardo committing or drawing fouls in Game Three of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series.

Fajardo was hobbled by foul trouble on Sunday night, picking up five fouls with still over five minutes left in the game and finishing with just eight attempts and playing only 30 minutes as he saw the Texters hold on to a 98-92 win to take a 2-1 lead.

“We’re just thankful because, finally, the referees were calling the fouls on June Mar,” Racela said, recalling Game Two where the three-time reigning MVP played almost 40 minutes and committed just a single foul.

“At least today, they were seeing it and I’m thankful for that,” he added. “That really gave us a good chance (to win) today.”

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Austria, however, felt there were some calls that didn’t go his prized ward’s way.

“Alam naman natin na laging nagsisimula ang plays namin kay June Mar, but he got into foul trouble,” Austria said of Fajardo, who still tallied 16 points, nine boards, and three blocks.

“His minutes were thirty lang, yung kanyang attempts were eight lang, and that's because of the defense of TNT. And there are a lot of times na supposedly my foul, pero di natatawag.”

“Nakita niyo naman kanina we kept on complaining eh, but that's given na eh,” he added. “Yung isang offensive rebound niya, tinawagan pa ng foul. Yung kanyang isang spin, hindi tinawagan ng foul. And that's very crucial for us. Saib ko nga given na yan, nangyayari yan eh.”

Still, Austria is reminding his wards to manage their fouls better, starting in Game Four on Tuesday.

“We have to be smart next time around,” Austria said after a long talk with his staff. “So yan, nagtagal kaming mga coaches, pinagusapan namin ang dapat gawin. Definitely, we have to adjust sa next game namin.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos