ATO Badolato has backed calls for a permanent commissioner's office in the UAAP, but last season's basketball commissioner said having a permanent set of referees will do more to solve the problems in officiating that had hounded the country's premier college league in the past campaign.
Unlike in other leagues, the UAAP appoints a basketball commissioner on a yearly basis. The commissioner, in turn, forms his own team then installs the group of referees of his choice to officiate the games.
In the just-concluded season, Badolato was appointed commissioner by host National University after holding the same position in 2010 when De La Salle was season host. Andy Jao assumed the job last year.
“There are advantages (to having a permanent commissioner) but it won’t cure the problems,” Badolato told Spin.ph.
Badolato said having a permanent commissioner will allow coaches and players to get used to the calls, but that will only happen if the commissioner sticks with just one group of referees that will officiate the games over an extensive period of time.
“By having a permanent commissioner for at least three years, the coaches and players will get used to the same kind of officiating,” said Badolato.
Different referees groups have officiated in the league in past seasons. Referees from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) officiated in the past two seasons while the National Basketball Referees Organization (NABRO) and Basketball Referees Association for Schools, Colleges and Universities (BRASCU) have also been tapped previously.
The league has also tried handing the job to referees from both the PBA and the defunct Philippine Basketball League in 2009.
Badolato said varying interpretations on several rules of the game by the different groups create confusion and eventually disagreement on calls.
“For example, with SBP and NABRO referees, there are interpretations that are completely black and white. Like the double dribble, grabe ang interpretasyon ng NABRO. Kung biglang papasok ang NABRO the next year, panibago na namang adjustment (for the coaches and players),” he said.
“That’s one of the basic reasons that referees don’t make an effort just to become one (group). As long as the situation lingers, I think it will be better kung isa na lang ang mag-officiate sa tournament,” Badolato said.
How about the UAAP forming its own set of officials just like the PBA?
“Saan kukunin ‘yun? This will take time… Matatagalan ‘yan. Saan kukunin? Kukunin din sila sa existing association kung papayag. But it’s a nice idea,” said Badolato.
The commissioner's office, which has come under fire during the last title series between Ateneo and University of Santo Tomas, also has limited powers with its decisions on protests subject to an appeal before the league's technical committee and board which hold the power to overturn their decisions.
Last season, Badolato's decision to junk a protest by host NU was overturned by the league board which ordered a replay of the NU-Far Eastern University match.
The legendary San Beda Red Cubs coach reiterated that flaws in officiating will always be part of the game whether the league installs a permanent commissioner or not.
“Siguro, coaches and players will have to be taught that referees will commit mistakes. As long as they demand na 100 percent walang mali, mahihirapan,” Badolato said.