UAAP review finds 17 incorrect calls in La Salle-Adamson game, but sees no evidence of bias
Falcons coach Franz Pumaren shows his displeasure over the calls. Marlo Cueto

THE UAAP Commissioner’s Office has “heavily reprimanded” the three referees who officiated the Final Four game between De La Salle and Adamson, but made it clear it saw no evidence to prove there were bias and partiality on the part of the game officials.

UAAP commissioner Rebo Saguisag said the three referees who worked the game between the Green Archers and the Falcons were excluded from the pool of referees in the ongoing best-of-three finals series between La Salle and Ateneo and warned of stiffer penalties.

The sanction was on top of the preventive suspension Saguisag issued days after the La Salle-Adamson game was marred by complaints from Falcons supporters as well as coach Franz Pumaren after his team was called for 33 fouls compared to La Salle’s 12.

A strongly worded protest letter was also sent by Adamson officials to the league.

“We recognize the importance of having officials who must be able to perform at the highest levels. We also acknowledge the need to maintain public confidence in the league,” wrote Saguisag in his letter addressed to Adamson board of managing director Fr. Aldrin Suan.

”Further to their preventive suspension (provisional in nature and not based on a finding of guilt), the officials concerned have been heavily reprimanded with warning of stiffer penalties should evidence of bad faith or malice surface even after this review.

“They also remain excluded from the pool of referees for the best-of-three series to remove any cloud of doubt on the upcoming finals,” Saguisag said.

After a thorough review of the game, however, Saguisag said there was no evidence of bias or partiality among the referees, despite a number of “incorrect non-calls” - 10 from La Salle and seven from Adamson.

Saguisag said the incorrect non-calls and errors in judgement do not mean there is bias among the referees.

“We do understand the frustrations of players, coaches, supporters, and the viewing public in general when the right call is not made. Teams train hard and lay everything on the floor to compete. We likewise appreciate the call for a judicious review and the clamor for objective, fair, and impartial officiating. The Office of the Commissioner will never tolerate or condone any conduct, act, or omission that would compromise the integrity of the sport.

“However, bias or partiality on the part of the officials cannot be presumed. Partiality is related to intention which is a mental process, an internal state of mind, that must be judged by the person’s overt acts. This office cannot infer bias or partiality on the basis of errors in judgement,” said Saguisag.


Saguisag said during the review, there was no clear evidence that will prove the 'mental process of bias' was present among the three referees who officiated the game.

“These must be proved with clear and convincing evidence - which, upon meticulous review of the game, are absent in this games. To hold otherwise would be to render refereeing untenable, for no one called upon to officiate a sport, where you only have a brief moment to decide (without the benefit of a replay), can be infallible in their judgement.”

“With the foregoing, we conclude that while there were errors in officiating, the evidence at hand is insufficient to prove bias or partiality,” said Saguisag.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports