AS commissioner Chito Salud launches a review into a controversial non-call that marred Game One of the PBA Governors Cup finals between San Mig and Rain or Shine, the PBA said it won't stop its technical consultant from doing on-the-spot review and judgement on referees' calls for the TV coverage team.
Taking on a role as referee analyst pioneered by longtime NBA referee Steve Javie for ESPN, former PBA technical head Perry Martinez caused a stir on Tuesday night when he said on television that Marc Pingris should have been called for a foul on Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee in the final play of Game One.
The referee closest to the play, Jimmy Mariano, decided against calling a foul on Pingris, allowing San Mig to escape with a 104-101 win over Rain or Shine in the opener of the best-of-five finals.
Later, Martinez, applying the principle of verticality after a video review of the play, said he believed Pingris lunged forward while trying to stop Lee's three-point shot and fouled the Rain or Shine guard in the process.
"If I were the referee, I would have called a foul," Martinez said as Rain or Shine coaches, officials, and players protested the non-call.
Salud and his technical team are in the process of reviewing the contentious play before deciding on whether sanctions should be meted on the referee.
"Na-review na ni com (Salud) 'yung video. Mamaya i-re-review nya ulit with the technical team," said Willie Marcial, PBA media bureau chief and special assistant to the commissioner.
Marcial said Martinez won't be part of the review.
Marcial said Martinez's on-the-spot judgment on Mariano's play may have pre-empted Salud's decision, but he made it clear the PBA has no plan to stop its former technical head from commenting on the referees' decisions for the broadcast team of TV coveror Sports5.
"Kung 'yun ang nakita ni Perry sa vantage point niya at sa replay, igagalang namin 'yun. Pero hindi nangangahulugan na yun na rin ang desisyon ng liga. We will conduct a more thorough investigation and review," said Marcial.
Asked if Sports5 sought the consent of the PBA to ulitize Martinez for the TV coverage, Marcial nodded.
"Oo, ipinagpaalam sa amin 'yun. At gusto namin yung ganun kasi mas nakikita namin ang pulso at debate ng mga fans. Mas nagiging bahagi ng coverage at liga ang mga fans," he said.
"I think his role (as referee analyst) will help educate fans on the nuances of officiating," Marcial added. "Kita mo naman, hanggang ngayon nagde-debate pa rin sila. Ibig sabihin, buhay ang suporta ng bawat isa sa mga laro."
Marcial also sought the understanding of the public in terms of the much-maligned officiating in the league.
"Dun mo makikita na mahirap maging referee. Yun ngang ilang ulit nang nire-replay yung aksyon, iba-iba pa rin ang tingin ng tao. May nagsasabi pa rin foul, may nagsasabi pa rin na walang foul. May mga nagsabi pa nga travelling si Paul Lee," he said.
Former Barako Bull coach Bong Ramos, meanwhile, called the final play a 'judgment call," saying the complexity of the sequence has the call going either way.
"Hindi mo kasi masabi talaga kung foul o hindi (base) sa replay eh. Lumusob si Ping kasi umatras si Paul. Na-maintain pa rin niya yung distance niya sa shooter, 'yun naman ang rules," said Ramos.
On the other hand, "may contact kaya pwede ring may foul," added the soft-spoken coach.
Ramos, however, said the referee can only base his decision according to what he saw.
"Ganun talaga 'yun. 'Pag-referee ka, on the spot ka magde-decide." Wala kang benefit of replay sa ganung sitwasyon. Kung ano yung nakita mo, 'yun ang itatawag mo," he said.