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    Is Maierhofer's 'shoe-palpal' attempt against Espinas legal? PBA official gives take

    May 27, 2015

    A HILARIOUS scene unfolded during a PBA game on Wednesday when a desperate Rico Maierhofer of Barako Bull tried to block a shot by San Miguel Beer's Gabby Espinas with the help of a shoe.

    The incident made quite a splash on social media sites shortly after it happened in the first half of the Beermen's 116-113 victory, with one witty tweep immediately dubbing it the 'Shoe-palpal' scandal.

    Funny as it was, it still got us thinking: Was it legal?

    They Said It!

    Kaya n Lebron James?? Hindi. Only in the Philippines."  Louie Omay

    We asked PBA operations director Rickie B. Santos, who said Maierhofer’s strange defensive strategy could have merited a technical foul since he used a “foreign object” in a live play.

    Without the benefit of looking at a league rule book, Santos explained that such a move was unprecedented in the PBA’s 40-year existence though game officials should probably have taken notice of it.

    “Dapat, hindi puwede 'yun (using a shoe to try to block a shot), kasi using a foreign object iyun,” Santos told on Wednesday during a break in play at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    “It could merit a technical foul, but then, that I have to check sa rule book ng PBA.”

    The strange play started when 6-foot-4 Maierhofer accidentally lost his right shoe while driving to the basket. Play wasn’t halted as San Miguel tried to go for a fastbreak.

    Espinas managed to elude Barako Bull import Liam McMorrow but found his lane blocked by Maierhofer, who used his shoe to force the San Miguel forward to a turnover, leading to a fastbreak layup on the other end by Joseph Yeo.

    Continue reading below ↓

    Former PBA referee Tom Urbano said Maierhofer’s queer defensive stop shouldn’t have been necessary had the referees halted the play.

    “Ngayon lang nangyari 'yung ganun na pinang-block ang sapatos,” said Urbano, who was at Big Dome to support Alaska, with whom he served as team staffer from 1986 to 2013.

    Players who lost a shoe accidentally are allowed to recover during a dead ball situation, he added.

    “Yung pasuotin mo ang sapatos, one of the options iyan, pero yung dalhin mo 'yun sa kabila at ipang-depensa mo, dapat stop na agad 'yun. Puwedeng ma-technical pa 'yun kasi binitbit niya 'yung sapatos eh tapos pinag-depensa niya,” explained the 74-year-old Urbano, who served as a PBA referee from 1979 to 1986.

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