IT’S all up to management of Barako Bull on what course of action it will take surrounding the controversy that marred the team’s heartbreaking 91-92 loss to San Mig Coffee Sunday night in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Coach Junel Baculi said he’ll first get the opinion of owner George Chua on the matter, and then take everything from there.
But team manager Raffy Casyao said management may likely ask for a second review of the final play in question despite commissioner Chito Salud ruling it as a `legal play’ upon review of the tape after the game.
“We will review the tape and see what action we will take. If you ask my opinion, and that’s my opinion, it should be counted,” Baculi said in his post-game interview.
Controversy erupted late in the match over a potential game-winning shot by Rico Villanueva when San Mig center Rafi Reavis touched the ball while it was still clearly above the cylinder.
Barako Bull claimed Reavis should have been called for a goaltending violation in the play.
However, the referees decided against blowing their whistles based on the Fiba rule that players are allowed to touch the ball after the first bounce in the ring.
PBA officials explained that the league adopted the international rule in 2007 to aid the national team's campaign in the Asian championships. It has stayed since.
PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial said there’s nothing wrong if Barako Bull decides to seek a review of the play, but reiterated the legality of the play.
Baculi stressed Commissioner Salud had their utmost respect, but said everything hinges on what the Barako Bull owners will say.
“No disrespect to commissioner. He interprets the rules based on his knowledge (of the rules),” said the Barako coach.
“If our owner says let bygones be bygones, then we will do that so that we’re on one page here. If he says let’s move on, then we’ll move on. It’s up to him (Chua), and not up to me.”
But if Baculi’s two cents worth will be asked, then definitely the basket of Villanueva should have been counted.
While he’s aware that Fiba rules had been adopted by the league a long time ago, Baculi asked whether that same rule of tapping the ball out of the rim was among those implemented by the league.
“But which Fiba rules did we adopt? I haven’t seen anybody do that. If it was really adopted, how come nobody is doing that? Even Marc Pingris is not doing that when he’s capable of doing it,” he said.
There are a lot of players who can do that, but they’re not doing it.”
Incidentally, the final play wasn’t meant for Villanueva driving hard straight to the hoop.
“That’s an option,” admitted Baculi. “The No. 1 option is for Mick popping out for a trey. We’re inclined to die with Mick taking that three-point shot. But Josh (Urbiztondo) saw the opportunity because they switched and Rico got free and took the shot.”