INJURIES are common among players.
But an injured referee?
One such rare incident happened on Sunday night during the PBA Commissioner’s Cup game between Alaska and Barako Bull when referee Eduard Aquino was accidentally bumped into the endline railing by a rushing Calvin Abueva while the rookie was going for a loose ball.
Unfortunately, the injury turned out to be serious than initially thought.
Aquino is now confined in a hospital in Mandaluyong and being observed for swollen spine tissues and possible slipped disc. He also faces a long layoff owing to the injury he sustained during the final 2:38 mark of the game won by the Aces, 85-81.
The incident happened during a fastbreak sequence that saw Abueva going after the loose ball, his momentum carrying and eventually causing him to hit Aquino, who found himself sandwiched between 'The Beast' and the endline railing under the Alaska basket.
“Ang bilis ng pangyayari, kaya nung humampas ako dun sa bakal, hindi ko agad naramdaman `yung sakit kaya naka-ngiti pa ko,” recalled Aquino to Spin.ph while in his hospital room where pain reliever is constantly being placed in his intravenous (dextrose) fluid.
“Hindi ko masabi kasi sa intense ng game, masasabi pa bang sinadya niya yun o gusto niyang gawin? Part ng trabaho yun eh.”
But what surprised Aquino was Abueva’s actions after the accident as the high-profile rookie forward simply walked away from him as if nothing happened, not bothering to apologize.
“Ang tagal ko nang nagre-referee pero ngayon lang ako nabangga nang iniwan ako nung player,” said the lanky game official. “Kadalasan kasi pag nabangga kami, o worst nadaganan, yung mga players magsasabi ng sorry o kaya, tatapikin kami.”
The referee said he has yet to hear from Abueva after the incident.
However, Alaska senior sports manager CK Kanapi told Spin.ph that efforts are being made by Abueva to reach out to Aquino.
Kanapi even expressed the team’s willingness to extend medical assistance to the PBA referee.
“I told Eduard naman eh, if ever they’ll need anything ... they can tell us so we can see what moves we can make from our end,” said the Alaska executive.
Kanapi and the rest of the Alaska officials have called on their fan base (Gatas Republik) to offer prayers for Aquino.
“We would pray for his speedy recovery and for him to come back right away. He’s doing a good job naman eh,” Kanapi added.
“I personally saw that Eduard was in pain last night... We will tell Calvin to check on Eduard to see how he is ... wala kasing practice ngayon so we’ll give him a call na lang. Coach Luigi already called Eduard na.”
Aquino admitted he wanted to leave the game shortly after the incident because of the throbbing pain in his back, but opted to finish the match just the same.
“Kung mapapansin mo `yung tape, may ilang ulit akong napapangiwi. Ang sakit kasi talaga,” said Aquino, who will need a few more days of confinement to assess the damage in his spine.