MAPUA won its NCAA men’s basketball game against Lyceum on Friday, but that didn’t stop coach Atoy Co for blasting the officiating as he accused the referees of 'aiding' their opponents to close the gap in the end.
“Pinapadikit nila yung laro,” Co, who took his shirt off to show his frustration at the referees' calls, said at the end of the match won by the Cardinals after nearly squandering a 43-point lead, 109-95.
“I have to make a statement.”
Co was ejected late in the fourth quarter after resenting a call by the referees. So frustrated was the PBA legend that he took off his shirt and waved it in front of the Cardinals’ bench, leading to his ejection.
Co, who was later seen saying words in front of the camera, was still furious when approached by Spin.ph inside the Mapua dugout following his ejection.
“We played a very, very good game in the first half and they were trying to narrow (the lead). Now if you complain, what they do is to technical you, they warn you, they don’t explain it to you. They say we’ll look at it but the damage (has been done),” said the one-time PBA MVP.
The Cardinals led by as much as 43 points in the game, but the Pirates came back and cut down the deficit to just seven points inside the final two minutes.
“Ang feeling ko, parang pinapababa … pinapaganda ng referee ‘yung laro. Pababain para gumanda."
Co later apologized for his action during the postgame press conference, but added he is ready to face the consequences of his action.
“I think they will fine me. It’s okay. I’ll get it from you,” said Co in jest to the media.
“Talagang ganun eh. It will cost me. But I did that intentionally to get their attention. Ive been complaining already. Magagalit sila sa akin pero that’s the way it is. Sa tanda kong ‘to, siguro may karapatan akong magsalita. Tinawag ka pa namang legend,” Co said.
“I’m very sorry for what I did but it’s just a statement to let them know,” said Co.
Co also expressed disappointment over how the Cardinals played in the second half.
“Bago pa ako lumabas ng third quarter, sinabi ko na na magkakaroon sila ng big push. Kaya lang ‘yung mga nasa loob, siguro kampante,” said Co.