SAN Beda team manager Jude Roque apologized to Letran for his remarks on Twitter following the Red Lions' loss in Game Three of the NCAA Finals, but reiterated that the referees were wrong in calling a double lane violation in the critical seconds of overtime.
In his column for the Manila Times, Roque said he didn’t intend to put a cloud of doubt on Letran’s title victory over San Beda in the Season 91 championship series when he tweeted, “Refs made sure the NCAA sees a new champion,” shortly after the Knights' title-clinching 85-82 victory.
“It wasn’t my intention to sling mud at Letran’s victory. If my post offended people, then I apologize, especially to Letran and my Letranite friends, the NCAA, ABS-CBN and other stakeholders," Roque wrote.
Roque, however, reiterated he felt the referees made a mistake in calling a double lane violation late in overtime when Letran’s McJour Luib succeeded in baiting Art Dela Cruz into entering the shaded lane with him as the Knights' Jomari Sollano attempted his second free throw.
The said infraction, which was called by referee Nestor Sambrano, resulted in the Knights retaining possession after the free-throw miss since the possession arrow is in their favor.
Roque insisted possession should've been awarded to San Beda since Luib entered the lane first.
“But I cannot apologize to the refs, whose mistake San Beda paid for dearly. The call not only deprived San Beda a chance to win, but also (denied) Letran a more compelling triumph. It left a bad taste in the mouth,” wrote Roque.
Roque said he even consulted a former Fiba Europe referee who, he said, concurred with his view that the call was incorrect. The official even said baiting someone to such an infraction is “not within the spirit of the rules,” the Red Lions official added.
“One of these experts, a retired Fiba Europe referee, said it best: ‘A double lane violation can only be called when both rebounders enter at the same time. But this is rarely seen in basketball. There’s always someone who comes in first, and his team gets the violation. Baiting an opponent is not within the spirit of the rules.’”
Roque has also called for a review of the double lane violation rules.
“I respect NCAA commissioner Bai Cristobal, his staff and the Brascu referees, who officiate both NCAA and UAAP games, especially its chief Romy Guevarra, and senior official Nestor Sambrano, who was among the Game Three refs," Roque said. "But for the sake of future games, the group must review its interpretation of the free throw lane violation rule.”