PHILIPPINE Collegiate Champions League commissioner Joe Lipa has stood by his referees, insisting they were right not to call a 24-second violation on University of Santo Tomas in a controversial ruling that enabled Ateneo to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in Game Two on Thursday at The Arena in San Juan.
With the Tigers up by one, 69-68, and with 18 seconds remaining and a second left on the shotclock, UST forward Jeric Teng was forced to put up a desperation heave from well beyond the three-point arc, his shot missing the hoop completely as the shotclock ran out.
While the Tigers basically stood still waiting for the buzzer to sound and an ensuing dead-ball situation, the referees allowed play to continue as the Eagles grabbed the rebound, leading to an unmolested fastbreak basket by Kiefer Ravena that enabled Ateneo to escape with a 70-69 victory.
Lipa later explained that the referees were right to allow play to continue even if the shotclock had lapsed since the defensive team, in this case Ateneo, had taken possession of the rebound.
“Ang rule kasi is this: the shotclock and game clock are running, the shotclock (showed) one second to go, the game clock 18 seconds to go. When an attempt is made and the defensive team gets (the ball) the violation is disregarded,” said the multi-titled former national coach.
“Tuluy-tuloy lang yung game, no need na mag-call ng 24-second violation,” Lipa added.
UST coach Pido Jarencio later shrugged off the late-game blunder, which allowed the Eagles to send their best-of-three championship series to a deciding game on December 7.
“Sila na ‘yun. Judgement call nila ‘yun. Breaks of the game na lang,” said Jarencio. “Wala naman tayo magagawa eh. Sila naman ang masusunod di ba? Tayo naman taga-sunod lang.”
Despite the loss, Jarencio said he was still proud of his players for the way they bounced back from a double-digit deficit against their tormentors in the last UAAP Finals.
“Down by 16, 17 bumabalik pa rin. Di nawawalan ng ng pag-asa ang mga players. Sa end game, ‘yun lang di na-control,” he said. “Ok lang, prepare na lang ulit (for Game Three).”