UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas coach Bong Dela Cruz refused to dwell on officiating after the Tigers’ sorry loss to Ateneo, even if some crucial calls went against them in the endgame.
UST's rookie coach said he wouldn't even bother to question a controversial jumpball in the endgame, in which a throw by the referee that appeared to be too low allowed Ateneo point guard Nico Elorde to beat the 6-3 Aljon Mariano.
That extra possession paved the way for a three-point play by Chris Newsome off the fifth foul of Mariano that gave Ateneo a 61-60 lead with 48 seconds to go.
But Dela Cruz refused to blame officiating for the Tigers’ 63-61 loss to Ateneo, which rode a clutch basket by Kiefer Ravena to come away with the thrilling win.
“Given na ‘yun eh. Kung ano ‘yung tawag nila, magre-react kami o hindi, natural lang ‘yun. Nandoon sila to officiate. Bad calls, good calls, nandyan lang sila to officiate. Wala kaming reklamo sa mga referees,” said Dela Cruz.
On the controversial jump ball, the UST coach said: “Hindi na namin puwedeng i-contest ‘yun dahil sasabihin sa amin, judgment call. Wala na kaming magagawa doon. Hindi na namin tinitignan ‘yun. Ang tinitignan na lang namin is ‘yung last-second play.
“Referees, wala kaming masasabi sa mga referees,” he added.
Instead, Dela Cruz found a lot of positives in the game, saying he believes UST played its best game defensively this season in a losing effort against the Blue Eagles.
“We prepared hard for this game. Maganda ‘yung linaro ng mga bata kaya lang talo kami. Best game namin, defensively,” Dela Cruz said.