IT will go down as one of the most memorable shots in college basketball history – a game-tying buzzer-beater from the backcourt that was so unbelievably amazing that experts and game officials alike found it truly hard to believe.
To be more precise, they found it impossible to believe.
Here was the scenario: With .9 of a second left and San Beda down by three points after a free throw from University of Perpetual Help’s Earl Thompson, Lions guard Baser Amer got the inbound from Art dela Cruz near the free throw line extended.
From there, Amer evaded a lunging Thompson, made one baby step and two more strides as he took one dribble before letting loose a desperation heave from at least 65 feet out that bounced off the backboard and went in as the buzzer sounded. All of that in .9 of a second.
As pandemonium broke out inside the San Juan Arena, the referees gathered before the officials’ table to watch TV replays, as per league protocol. And the review only confirmed what everybody saw – the ball indeed left Amer’s hands with still time left on the clock. The referees had no choice but to count the basket, paving the way for overtime.
But the question remained: Did Amer really get the shot off in that much time?
When it happened, both NCAA commissioner Joe Lipa and the league’s supervisor of referees, Romy Guevarra, admitted they were both incredulous. And these two people, who have spent their lifetime in basketball, should be the first to know that something was amiss in that final play.
Here is a video of that final play, courtesy of AKTV. Watch and judge for yourself.
“Hindi nga ako makapaniwala,” said the 75-year-old Guevarra, a former topnotch referee and the supervisor of officials for 14 years with the PBA who, by his own count, has supervised around 17,000 games in his career.
Lipa, a former coach in the UAAP, PBA and with the national team, was just as unconvinced. The former national coach admitted that the moment he saw Amer take one dribble, he was sure any shot the guy launched would not beat the clock.
“Alam ko ‘di na aabot,” Lipa said.
With the shot clearly beating the clock as TV replays showed, the two officials are now looking at two possible factors that may have aided Amer’s miracle shot: one, human error on the part of the official timekeeper who may have belatedly pressed the button as the play started, or two, a malfunctioning game clock.
Lipa said he plans to talk to the league’s table officials first thing on Saturday and, if it is established that no human error was involved in the play, to the San Juan Arena management to see how reliable the game clock is in the gym.
The probe won’t have an impact on the game’s outcome since Perpetual went on to win the game in overtime anyway. But both Lipa and Guevarra said getting to the bottom of this incident would help the league handle similar situations in the future.