FORMER PBA technical consultant Perry Martinez has expressed support for all the rule changes implemented by new commissioner Chito Narvasa, but aired concern that problems in implementation may pose a major hurdle.
“Yung konsepto ng rule change, I totally agree and support, but there might be a problem in the implementation of the rules,” said Martinez, now retired from basketball as he focuses on his new role as city administrator of Laoag.
Martinez also expressed concern that some of the new regulations may eventually have an effect on the preparations of players, especially those who play for the national team.
In particular, Martinez pointed to the new rule where a defender who, deliberately or not, gets a foot on a shooter's landing spot faces harsher penalties.
Under Narvasa's new guidelines, a defender who sticks his foot on the landing spot of the shooter - even if there was no contact- will be meted with a Flagrant Foul penalty 1 and forced to sit out for three minutes, while the opposing team is given two freethrows and ball possession.
The penalty is stiffer for a 'landing spot' infraction with contact, as the defender will be meted with a Flagrant Foul penalty 2, and ejected from the game while the opposing team is given two free throws and ball possession.
While acknowledging that the rule adjustments have good intentions, Martinez said the stiffer penalties may totally discourage players from defending shooters.
“Para sa akin, medyo mag-iinstill ng takot sa isip ng players 'yun. Tendency dyan, hindi na dedepensa sa shooter,” said Martinez. “Kasi pag nasanay ang players natin sa rules na yan, magkaka-effect yan pagnaglaro sila sa Fiba o iba pang international tournaments.”
Such an attitude, Martinez warned, may not bode well for PBA players tapped to play in international tournaments, where it is imperative for Gilas defenders to totally close out shooters.
“Ang mangyayari kasi dyan, hindi na dedepensa. So sa Fiba, masasanay yung player natin sa ganung sistema, titirahan tayo ng titirahan sa labas ng kalaban,” he said.
It will have the same effect on Gilas shooters, who, Martinez feared, may get used to having no defender aggressively trying to stop their shots.
“Sa offensive player ganun din. Pag nasanay sila sa PBA na maluwag ang depensa sa shooter, baka dalhin nila yan sa Fiba games. Maninibago sila kasi dun, matindi ang depensa sa shooter,” said Martinez, a the technical consultant of former PBA commissioner and now president and CEO Chito Salud.
Martinez bared that the landing spot rule was scrapped under the commissionership of Salud because the referees can already see if the defender means harm to the offensive player or not.
“Tinanggal natin yan kasi makikita naman ng referee yun kung nilalagyan kita ng paa (sa landing spot mo). Kung maglalagay tayo dyan ng additional guidelines, hindi na dedepensa. Matatakot,” he said.
Martinez said the implementing rules and guidelines of officiatng over the past several years were tailored to help prepare PBA players for international tournaments, not only in terms of the degree of physicality allowed but in other aspects as well.
“The results speak for itself. Kita mo, the last two Fiba Asia championships, first runner-up tayo. We just fell short of luck, gold sana tayo last time,” he said. “Ako naniniwala na yung rules na ginagamit natin dati, helped prepare our players for Fiba games and the same level of officiating.
“Nung nakarating tayo sa world basketball (Fiba World Cup), we also played great. Masyadong malalakas ang kalaban run, but we did very well. It’s partly to do with how our players are prepared to play and it was brought about by how they played here in the PBA,” Martinez added.
“In conjuction kasi sa Fiba rules yung guidelines natin na ginamit sa officiating the last five years sa PBA and we have been reaping the benefits.
The technical expert however believes that if there is one man who can implement new rules effectively, it is Narvasa.
“I am very supportive of him. I think he can pull it off naman. So we need not worry,” he said.
Martinez stressed he is not coming out to criticize Narvasa, incidentally his former coach at Ateneo, but only sharing his insight on how the PBA can help Gilas become more competitive in international tournaments.
“Ang sa akin lang, we have to be very careful to judge how the games are played the last five years, kasi madami nang benepisyo yun na na-reap na natin. Makikita mo yung end result, at yung produkto nga eh nagbigay sa atin ng tagumpay, which we never had for a longtime,” he said.
Martinez praised some of the new rules to be implemented this season, including the one that prohibits contact on inbounding players rule, the holding of jerseys and the three-minute sitout rule for deliberate fouls.
But in the end, it will all come down to consistency or the lack of it, Martinez added.
“I think we need to focus more on consistency of calls. It’s one thing we can’t learn overnight kasi yan eh continuous learning,” he said. “We should also focus on continuous training of the referees, kailangang pukpukin mo yan.
"Pero ako honestly, I commend Commissioner Narvasa for the dialogue he is introducing,” he added.