NATIONAL University has filed a formal protest before the UAAP Commissioners’ Office on Monday, a day after the Bulldogs lost to Far Eastern University on a controversial buzzer-beating layup by RR Garcia.
NU coach Eric Altamirano confirmed that the formal protest is now with its UAAP board representative Junel Baculi, who said he is leaving the team’s fate in the hands of UAAP Commissioner Ato Badolato.
“It’s up to him now. We will let him decide,” Baculi told Spin.ph.
Badolato said that the Commissioner’s Office will decide on the case 24 hours after the filing of the protest. The Bulldogs can elevate the case to the technical committee if they are not satisfied with the decision.
In a text message, FEU board representative Anton Montinola said that it is NU’s right to protest. He declined to give a categorical answer when he was asked if he believes that officials were right to count the basket.
“Please ask the commissioner and the refs,” Montinola said in a text message.
The Tamaraws defeated the Bulldogs, 77-75, after Garcia scored an uncontested layup at the buzzer, the referees deciding to count the basket after a careful review of the video replay.
Baculi also clarified that he was in no way involved with the decision of the referees to count the basket, denying speculations that he was the one who said that the shot was counted.
“I was not in a position to decide. I was there to observe. Sinabi ko lang na tignan mabuti kasi very crucial ‘yun sa both teams. And besides, why would I tell na counted when my team is playing,” Baculi said.
Baculi declined to speculate on the "worst case scenario" if the decision will not favor the Bulldogs, but there had been previous cases where games results were reversed over a dispute on buzzer-beating shots.
In a 2003 game, the UAAP board reversed La Salle's win over University of the East after a review showed that Archer Jun Jun Cabatu's last-gasp tthree-pointer which the referees had counted failed to beat the game clock.
A review by the UAAP technical committee said that the shot did come after the buzzer and the board uphold UE’s protest, reversing the game's outcome.
In this case, video grabs of the final play showed the ball still in the hands of Garcia with the game clock already showing zero. Altamirano said with the video evidence 'inconclusive,' the rightful call should have been to let the game go into overtime.