UNIVERSITY of the Philippines head coach Godfrey Okumu said that the crucial calls of the referees made their three-set loss to University of Santo Tomas more painful on Wednesday in UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Arena in San Juan.
Down two sets, the Lady Maroons were on the verge of forcing another frame with Marian Buitre pushing them at set point, 24-22, but a net touch was called on Marist Layug, followed by an attack error from Buitre that easily let the Tigresses tie the set.
Jessma Ramos was called for overreaching giving UST the match-point, 25-24, before Eya Laure delivered the game-winning block that put UP on the brink of elimination in the Final Four race.
Okumu claimed that the crucial calls were ‘odd’, especially the overreaching violation.
“The players are down, it’s not an easy thing to happen to a team when the referee makes the last two scores of the game by whistling,” Okumu said. “Sometimes I felt they just invented their own rules as far as that set is concerned, it’s heartbreaking for the players.”
The game officials reviewed the sequence after their initial call of overreaching. After checking it, they remained firm on their decision and still gave the point to UST on their second call.
“We also made our mistakes, spiking out, but you’d see the reaction of my players even on court after that call and the second call,” the UP coach added.
But the Kenyan coach is moving on from the alleged bad calls as he just wants to focus on their remaining games and get fair calls.
“You don’t blame the referees they’re just doing their job, but not in the best interest of one party,” Okumu said. “So I hope in the future we could get better results and the judgment will be done fairly.”
From becoming heavy favorites to go all the way this season as they triumphed in the collegiate tournaments of Philippine Superliga and Premier Volleyball League, the Lady Maroons are now on the brink of bowing out of semifinals contention at fifth place with a 6-6 win-loss record.
But Okumu is not yet giving up even their fate is already out of their hands as he wants to win against National University (3-9) on Sunday at the MOA Arena and Adamson on April 27.
“We are going to fight, we are going to out, we’d go strong and we believe these are games we have to win and that’s what we’re going for,” Okumu said.
“Like the others say, it’s not yet over until it’s over so we know what’s at stake, we’re gonna work for it and we’re gonna produce result,” he added.