PBA governor calls for major reforms to address officiating, questionable trades
Rain or Shine governor Mert Mondragon says the Rico Maierhofer incident should serve as a 'wake-up call' that there is something very wrong with PBA officiating. Jerome Ascano

PBA governors have called for major reforms in the wake of the Rico Maierhofer 'shoe-palpal' brouhaha, saying it's high time the pro league addresses problems on officiating and questionable trade deals.

Rain or Shine governor Mert Mondragon, a former league chairman, said he will spearhead a move to institute changes that will improve officiating in the league and put a stop to dubious deals involving sister teams.

The lawyer said the Maierhofer incident should serve as a 'wake-up call' that there is something very wrong with the state of officiating in the league.

“Kailangan na talagang i-address yan. 'Yan ang usapan. Number one dapat yan, the officiating plus the trade (deals),” Mondragon told Spin.ph on Friday.

“Talaga namang inaano (nadi-discuss na 'yan). In fact, when (the candidates for commissioner were interviewed) 'yan ang unang question nila, kung paano ma-improve ang officiating pati yung trades,” he added.

[See PBA fines Maierhofer P20,000, says 'shoe-palpal' stunt constitutes 'blatant misconduct']

The Rain or Shine executive said their team is simply fed up with poor officiating and bad calls.

“Madami nang beses na na-a-agrabyado kami sa officiating. Ayaw na lang namin magsalita,” he said. “Kita niyo naman yung coach namin (Yeng Guiao), laging nate-technical, laging nafa-fine. Nagsasawa na rin kami magreklamo eh.

“Tumatapang na rin kasi pati mga referees eh. Wala nang kinatatakutan.”

At the same time, the team governor of one of the few independent teams in the PBA said he wants  to see a more transparent execution of player trades in the future.

“Yang trade, gusto rin namin na mabantayang maigi. Kasi alam niyo naman yun eh. Nakikita niyo naman na halos sila-sila (multiple teams) lang ang nagpapalitan eh. Halata niyo naman na 'yun eh,” he said.

[To listen to interview with Mondragon and Pardo, go To PODCAST]

Star Hotshots governor Rene Pardo echoed Mondragon's sentiments, saying he has always been on his feet whenever issues about officiating are raised in the board.

“Every board meeting naman, magkasama kami ni Attorney Mert na bumabanggit dyan sa officiating eh,” said Pardo, an official of Purefoods since the team joined the league in 1988.

“Kahit tanungin mo kahit 'yung mga fans, nababasa mo rin siguro 'yung mga nakalagay sa social networking sites, even the fans are very unhappy already,” he added.

“Every game nakikita mo na nagkakaroon ng away. It doesn’t speak well of the league. Dapat i-re-focus namin. Ano ba gusto natin: ‘no blood, no foul?’ Dapat ise-set namin ang tone. It’s a basketball game. It’s a sport, hindi dapat mauwi sa away o sikuhan.”


[See Non-call on Maierhofer 'shoe block' made PBA a laughingstock, rues Guiao]

Asked if the board in general is no longer happy with the state of officiating in the games, Pardo was very straightforward with his response.

“Syempre naman. Hindi lang 'yung natatalo ang nagrereklamo, pati yung nananalo, nagrereklamo rin eh.  We should do something to improve and make the officiating consistent,” said Pardo.

Pardo said drastic measures are needed to improve officiating before fans lose interest in the games.

“We’re trying to improve, we need to do something drastic. We don’t have the luxury of time baka mamaya mayamot na yung mga nanonood. Mahirap 'yun. You cannot be sitting on your laurels, although maganda ang gate receipt mo, kailangan tuloy-tuloy ang improvement ng PBA,” said the eloquent team executive.

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