NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez rues non-call in potential game-winning play
NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez complains about the non-call on import Al Thornton in the Road Warriors' final play against Alaska in Saturday's PBA Commissioner's Cup. Jaime Campos

NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez rued the non-call involving import Al Thornton in the team’s 96-95 loss to Alaska in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday.

Thornton had the chance to give the Road Warriors their first win in two games when the former NBA veteran drove to the lane with four seconds left, only to fall on the ground as he was about to make an attempt against the defense of Aces point guard Ping Exciminiano and two help defenders.

Fernandez felt the referees should’ve called a foul on Alaska.

“Sometimes it’s really frustrating that you cannot get calls, which (in particular) I think was a foul,” said Fernandez, a multi-titled mentor in the amateur ranks.

He has also won a title in the PBA, but has seen a rude welcome in his return last year after leading the Road Warriors to just four wins in 11 games during the Philippine Cup.

“Probably because they (officials) still don’t respect NLEX or probably I need to gain respect from them so that I can get calls because I watch all games and I scout all games. Respected coaches are just shouting at the refs and there are no warnings or anything -- pinagmumura na nga, wala pa ring (tawag).”

“Kami, konting complaints, kino-call kami,” he added. “So probably we just have to make the referees respect us more.”

Winning could help.

“We really have to start winning so that my team gets respect and the calls,” Fernandez said.

“I’m not blaming the referees,” he was quick to add. “If it’s a judgment call, it’s their call. But I hope the commissioner will see that.”

Fernandez, though, did admit the Aces' suffocating defense made it tough for them to score.

"There are times we cannot execute because of the pressure defense. I think we have to find ways to improve on that. But I think, all in all, I’m happy with the way we played tonight."


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos