RAIN or Shine may have won Game One of its PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series against Meralco, but that doesn’t mean coach Yeng Guiao won’t faulted the game officiating
Guiao didn’t hide his displeasure at the way officials called the opener of the best-of-five series which the Elasto Painters won, 99-86, insisting officials should examine the seemingly ‘worsening officiating’ in the pro league.
The outspoken mentor criticized referees Art Herrera, Emy Tankion, and Jun Marabe for the way they reversed what was supposed to be a non-call midway in the fourth period.
With Meralco trailing, 78-87, Rain or Shine Fil-Am guard Gabe Norwood nailed a three-pointer just as the 24-second shot clock sounded.
After deeming it as a three-point basket, the three game officials huddled briefly in the next dead ball situation to consider the protest made by the Meralco bench led by coach Norman Black.
Then after conferring with table officials, Norwood’s shot was ruled not counted, a decision that drew a howl of protest from Guiao and the Rain or Shine bench.
“It’s so obvious there was no call made. There was no whistle. Then, there’s a dead ball and then you changed the call (from counting the three-point basket to reversing it). What do you change when there’s no call in the first place. How do you explain that?” said a frustrated Guiao after the game.
The fiery Rain or Shine coach said the Elasto Painters were just fortunate to make a good run in the last period which somehow negated the reversed call made by the referees.
But Guiao said what worries him is how officiating will be done the rest of the semifinals and the title series.
“It’s just scary because you have referees making decisions like those and the games are going to be really close and you have to rely on those people to make those calls,” he added.
Guiao, who once served as commissioner of the defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL), said the referees should have talked among themselves and carefully consider Norwood’s shot when they huddled.
“At that point, kailangan siguro dun nagusap-usap muna sila (referees). Isa lang yung nag-decide eh. Parang yun nasa (officiating) table lang ang nagsabi na 24 second violation so nabigla lang ako na ganun ang situation,” he said.
“Kasi swerte lang kami malaki lamang namin. Pero di parating ganyan kasi may didikit-dikit na ganyan na laro sigurado dito sa semis, and we will probably be in danger of suffering such bad judgment,” added Guiao.
The Rain or Shine coach’s call for consistency in officiating comes in the wake of a similar plea made by Ginebra recently.
On Saturday, Kings’ team governor Alfrancis Chua also appealed for league officials to take a closer look at officiating in light of the team’s 92-91 setback to the Elasto Painters in their quarterfinal match.
The league later admitted the referees erred in not calling a 24-second violation in the dying seconds of the tightly-fought contest just before Rain or Shine gunner Jeff Chan hit the game-winning shot after swiping the ball away from the hands of Ginebra import Michael Dunigan.
Chua admitted the result of the game could have gone either way if not for that fateful, non-call of a 24-second violation on the Kings.
The loss knocked Ginebra out of the playoffs, marking another disappointing finish to the league’s most popular squad.