UAAP commissioner Andy Jao upheld Ateneo’s victory over Far Eastern University, throwing out a protest by the Tamaraws as he insisted that the referees were right in ruling that a basket by Blue Eagle Von Pessumal should be counted as a three-pointer after a video review.
Jao said Pessumal indeed hit a three-pointer at the 3:20-mark of regulation in the FEU-Ateneo game - and not a two-point basket as initially reflected on the scoreboard - on Saturday after going over the video replays all over again. The Eagles went on to win the game in overtime, 68-64.
The commissioner said the referees correctly ruled that the basket was a three-pointer on the spot and it was the scorers who made the mistake of counting it as a two-pointer, thus the need to correct it.
“We can’t penalize a team on something that is correct. We know it’s a three and we had to correct it,” said Jao.
FEU coach Nash Racela wrote a protest letter to Jao on Monday questioning the process by which the officials made the correction in the score, saying it is a 'grave error' over a technicality that altered the game's result.
In his letter, Racela said the referees made the correction outside the time frame allowed by league rules.
Jao, however, explained why it took too long to correct Pessumal’s basket, saying referees Mark Garcia and Meynard Ballecer signaled Pessumal’s attempt was a three-pointer on the spot but table officials failed to see the referees’ call, the reason why only two points was added to Ateneo's score.
Jao also said his deputies made several efforts to call the referees’ attention to the error.
“It was a clear three-point shot. The referees raised their hand signifying the three-point attempt. But the scorer didn’t put the three points because they didn’t see the situation because the fans were seated and they all stood up,” said Jao.
“We were still trying to call their attention, hindi lang kami makita. There was no need for a challenge because from the start, we know na mali ‘yung score,” said Jao.
Jao said he is confident that FEU’s protest will not be elevated to the UAAP board, following an agreement that he will be given authority to decide on game-related issues.
“That was supposed to be the agreement for this season,” said Jao.