THE UAAP and NCAA employing the same set of referees from the Basketball Referees Association for Schools, Colleges, and Universities (BRASCU) has its downside.
On Wednesday, Letran coach Caloy Garcia hit out at the practice of allowing referees suspended by the NCAA to officiate matches in the UAAP, as was the case with Ian Borbe and AJ Escobido, saying it defeats the purpose of the suspensions.
After being suspended by commissioner Bai Cristobal for what Garcia deemed were unfair calls made by the two – Borbe during the Knights’ first-round encounter against Jose Rizal University, and Escobido during Letran’s loss to San Beda two Saturdays ago – the two went on to call games in the UAAP.
That has naturally left Garcia fuming.
“I don’t call that a suspension,” Garcia said. “The head of the (referees’) organization should know better. Alam mo na nagkamali ‘dun sa isang liga; bakit mo pa papatakbuhin sa kabila?”
His comments came on the same day the choice of referee for both leagues came under the microscope after Menard Ballecer, who was suspended by the NCAA after the bench-clearing brawl that took place in a game between Emilio Aguinaldo College and Mapua, was tapped to officiate the Final Four match between Ateneo and National University in the UAAP.
Because of the practice, the referees, Garcia felt, are no longer afraid of getting suspended by one league because they can always find work in the other league.
“Hindi sila takot ma-suspend eh,” he said. “That’s the only thing I’m worried about, because they know may ibang liga dyan na they get paid more. So baka mamaya, sinadyang ma-suspend dito, para makatakbo lang dun sa kabila.
“Mas malaki suweldo ‘dun eh,” Garcia added, referring to the UAAP.
“San ka, sa one-nine o two-five?” Garcia asked, referring to the unconfirmed salary rates of referees in both leagues (P1,900 in the NCAA and P2,500 in the UAAP).
Garcia’s latest criticism of the officiating in the NCAA came in the aftermath of his second ejection from a game this season during the Knights’ 79-70 loss to Arellano Chiefs that eliminated them from Final Four contention.
The Letran mentor was thrown out after picking up a second technical foul for continuous complaining with only 34 seconds remaining.
Garcia, who is also deputy coach with Rain or Shine, once again felt there were questionable calls that went against them - an occurrence which the usually mild-mannered mentor felt happened one too many times to the Knights this season.
“I don’t what the referees are looking at, if they’re really being consistent na maging ganito sila sa amin or what," Garcia said. “We can’t always blame the referees; ang hinihinigi ko lang siguro yung consistency.”
Garcia’s earlier complaint earned him a positive response from the commissioner following the suspension meted out on Borbe and Escobido.
But asked if he feels the referees could be ganging up on them after Borbe was suspended, Garcia responded in the positive.
“We cannot take that out of the question, kasi magkakaibigan yan sila eh. Hindi natin alam kung baka dahil sa insidente na yun (Borbe suspension),” he said.