OFFICIATING in the UAAP has come under criticism the past couple of days in the aftermath of a series of suspensions handed out to big names such as Thirdy Ravena, Arvin Tolentino and Javi Gomez de Liano.
Kobe Paras and Kiefer Ravena both questioned the UAAP, particularly commissioner Junel Baculi, for separate issues regarding how the league handles its officiating.
But Baculi isn’t taking anything personal, saying the league is very open to criticism.
“It’s okay, we accept criticisms, we accept complaints, we adjust to the complaints, hindi namin binoblock yun. Every time mga coaches dito, nagcocomplain sila, sinasagot naman namin. Di naman namin tinatalikuran,” Baculi said.
“Ang hinihingi ko lang sa coaches, we’re giving you the leeway, give us also the leeway for the league to be a better one and to finish it strong,” he added.
Paras was arguing against Thirdy Ravena’s suspension, saying that the decision was ‘weak’ in a now deleted Tweet.
“UAAP, I bet my life that the person who disqualified Thirdy doesn’t even hoop or hasn’’t even touched/played with a damn basketball before,” said Paras. “Y’all so weak.”
That person who decided to suspend Ravena turned out to be Baculi, a successful coach in his own right with playing experience in college and amateur leagues.
Baculi doesn’t really have a problem with that.
“I saw that tweet, sinend sakin, meron naman nag response sa tweet niya, I’ll just let them handle it. ‘This is a guy who suspended Thirdy, yung mga accomplishments ko, yung mga past ko.’ I also played college and high school basketball and I’ve proven myself,” said Baculi.
Baculi even played with Kobe’s father, Benjie Paras, late in the 1980s when they suited up for Phillips Sardines in the now defunct Philippine Amateur Basketball League.
“Teammate ko pa yung father niya, siguro pinagalitan siya ng papa nung nakita niya, siguro hindi lang niya alam, bata e,” Baculi said. “Eventually when he plays in the UAAP, malalaman niya siguro yun, for now bata e.”
Ravena, on the other hand called out Baculi directly, pointing out that like his brother Thirdy, Adamson’s Simon Camacho also got away with a punch on FEU’s Tolentino.
“Mr. Baculi, I think you should check this out,” said Ravena in a Tweet with a video of Camacho punching Tolentino.
“Just because @arvintolentino5 didn't lay down and grimace in pain, this should be tolerated,” he added. “Not to defend my brother but this should be sanctioned as well. Mistakes are not forgotten in 48 hrs.”
So why was Ravena suspended and Camacho left off the hook? It was simple according to Baculi.
The athletic Ateneo forward was apparently sent a written warning prior to that play – after he was called for an unsportsmanlike foul against Richard Escoto in their match against the Tamaraws.
Now that he was given a warning beforehand, his hit on Paul Desiderio automatically merits a suspension as per UAAP rules
“There’s a process, a procedure. If it’s called, okay, if it’s not disqualifying, we will send you a memo for the warning, nasa rules yun. After the warning and you do it again, then I have the authority to give you additional penalties, that’s what we did with Ravena,” said Baculi.
“Meron na siya before, meron na siyang unspo (unsportsmanlike foul), yung ginanun niya si Escoto, ginawan ko na siya ng memo na this is a warning. Any subsequent action of the same will be dealt with accordingly based on the rules of the UAAP,” he added.
Baculi said that Camacho was already given a memo and the next time he does something ‘extra’ on tape, he’ll be handed out a suspension – called or not.
“Meron na siyang warning. The next time na gawin niya yun, yung dirty tricks, to hurt or excessive contact, kahit hindi nakita ng referee, pag nakita sa evidence with the video, we will suspend also. Pero warning muna,” explained Baculi.
At the end of the day, Baculi said that he’s just basing everything on the rules and he hopes everyone understands it.
“Si Em Fernandez (Ateneo board director) knows that, Nilo Ocampo (NU board director) knows that, si Nong Calanog (La Salle board director), they all know it that I always base my decision on rules,” said Baculi.
“Not on my caprice or whim na parang ganun, I base everything on rules and procedure. Yan ang iniinstill namin sa referees, may procedure tayo on officiating and may rules tayo on officiating.”