UAAP commissioner Ato Badolato admitted that free throws should have been awarded to University of Santo Tomas star Jeric Teng in the final moments of Game One, but officials decided not to do so because of the tedious process of clearing the court of people that spilled into the playing floor in the ensuing commotion.
The last-second ‘foul’ was one of the points contested by UST coach Pido Jarencio during their Game One defeat to Ateneo, 78-83, saying rules dictate that the free throws should have been given to Teng regardless the circumstances.
“Tapusin natin ang laro, eh tumawag kayo ng foul eh di pag-free throwin mo. Ang sinasabi ko, tapusin natin ‘yung laro ng maayos… Hindi pa nila binigay ‘yun,” said Jarencio during his postgame rant.
After at least three video reviews of the last-second play, Badolato said officials ruled that the foul called on Ateneo’s Ryan Buenafe came with still .2 of a second left in the game clock, meaning Teng should have awarded a trip to the charity line.
But Badolato, who was also league commissioner in 2010, decided not to award the charities due to the ensuing commotion, where fans from both camps spilled into the court and the referees had to be escorted out by security men following furious jeers from the UST gallery.
“We decided that there was 0.2 seconds before the foul was committed, but not before the shot was released after the time had expired. Based on that, you have to give free throws,” admitted Badolato during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
“But the problem is, all the people were already on the court and coach Pido was fuming mad. As a matter of fact, he confronted the referees even before the referees were on their way to review (the video of the play).
"Even before the ref got to (award the free throws) all players and some supporters were inside the court. We had to clear the court in order to give those free throws. Since it will not affect the outcome of the game, we decided to just end the game. I think we would have more trouble if we had done that.
“People were all over the court and we decide it would be better not to award free throws anymore because we had to get all the people outside the court and award the free throws and that would have not made a difference in the game.
“Had it been a three-point lead, we would have done it. It will be more tedious to remove all the people and give the foul shots,” said Badolato.
However, Jarencio claimed there should have been at least .5 of a second left when the foul was committed. Had free throws been awarded, he asserted that UST still had the chance to tie if Teng made two free throws, deliberately missed the third, and a quick three-pointer was made.
"Marami pang pwedeng mangyari sa oras na ganoon," he said.
Badolato made it clear that communication between coaches and referees have been constant even before the Final Four on how games will be officiated.
“Even before the Final Four, we had a meeting with the coaches, almost all coaches of the women’s, juniors and seniors were there except Coach Pido who was represented by two assistant coaches. Even before that, we talked about how it would be called, we allowed coaches to ask and before each Final Four game, we always have this, draw lots for referees and talk about the game,” said Badolato.