UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas big man Karim Abdul vented his frustration over the officiating after a foul-plagued Game Two performance, saying the referees "played a role" in the result.
Speaking after the Tigers' 70-77 loss to De La Salle in the UAAP Season 76 best-of-three finals on Saturday, the Cameroonian center said the referees made the task of battling Archers big men Arnold Van Opstal and Norbert Torres a lot harder that it already was.
"Okay, first and second quarters I wasn't focused. I don't know what has got into me but I believe the referees played a role in the game," said Abdul, who was saddled with three fouls before the first half could end. "So I've never said this before but today, the referees, they really played."
Abdul said the referees wouldn't allow him to defend La Salle's big men properly while letting the Archers get away with a lot of things.
"Because I received warnings (from the referees) like, 'Don't put your hand there and I'm gonna call a foul' and, 'Don't put your hands like this cause I'm gonna call a foul,' that's why I was letting him (Van Opstal) in the third and fourth quarters because I'm already foul troubled, three fouls. So the referees will say, 'If you put this hand this way I'm gonna call a foul' so I coudn't defend properly," he added.
Abdul finished with 13 points, grabbed nine rebounds, dished out one assist, got one steal and blocked three attempts of the Green Archers but proved no match for De La Salle's frontline, especially while playing with three fouls from the second half on.
"What was frustrating is the referees weren't calling the pushing, the hondling even when Van Opstal was blocking his arm on me and the referees would tell me not to put my arm on him. Is that, right?" he lamented. "He's covering my arm when I'm trying to reach for the ball."
When asked if the officiating was unfair, the 6-foot-6 center minced no words.
"Yeah (it's unfair)," he said. "I mean he (Van Opstal) can back down with his shoulder or bump but he's really putting his arm on me and the referees were not calling it, seriously."
Coming Game Three, however, Abdul promised a different ending.
"Game Three I'm gonna be on kill mode, I'm not gonna relax in the first and second quarters and I'm gonna see how I'm going to deal with that (referees)," he said.
Abdul is part of this year's Mythical Five, but he said his ultimate goal is a championship.
"I do wanted to win today. I don't want to practice anymore after three months of training for the championship, pagod na ako," he said in jest.
"I don't care about the individual awards I just want the championship. For me that's the best," he added. "My coaches will give me the best individual awards I need if we win the championship."