The game between the Star Hotshots and Blackwater Elite was marred by two rather questionable calls which resulted in temporary banishment from the court for the offending player and a forthcoming fine from the PBA office.
While these contacts are considered as only regular fouls in the game of basketball, the recent rule changes initiated by Commissioner Chito Narvasa have severely upgraded such incidents as flagrant fouls.
Flagrant is defined as obviously offensive or disgraceful, also as conspicuously and outrageously bad or reprehensible. And the term certainly does not fit the kind of fouls already being classified as such.
The first incident involves Star rookie Jio Jalalon and Blackwater sophomore Art dela Cruz during the third quarter of the said game.
Blackwater was on the offensive end and as dela Cruz was about to take his place on the set, Jalalon casually swung his arm in a defensive posture which slightly grazed dela Cruz’ crotch.
The Elite forward suddenly crashed to the floor grimacing in pain. Judging from the facial expression, it was like he was kicked by a Taekwondo blackbelter direct on his private part.
The reaction was simply too much for the contact. It really made no sense, except if it was an acting audition for an upcoming action movie.
The game officials reviewed the play and despite having the benefit of replay and slow motion, they decided that it was a Flagrant Foul Penalty 1. Jalalon had to sit it out for 3 minutes and then wait a couple of days for the announcement of a fine.
Dela Cruz succeeded in selling what should have been a non-call with his showbiz-worthy acting skills.
Next incident transpired in the 4th canto.
Hotshots forward Marc Pingris drove strong to the hoop and was met by the umbrella defense of Raymond Aguilar. Pingris came tubling down and was likewise grimacing in pain, grasping his ear and checking to see if the others parts of his face were still in place.
While this one probably merited a foul, only a regular one would suffice. It was a regular defensive move which was not meant to harm the offensive player in a malicious way.
But great acting came into play and the officials slapped a Flagrant Foul Penalty 1 on Aguilar as well.
What’s clear now is the players are adapting to the rule changes. Fouls which result in dire consequences are now classified as flagrant. Doesn’t really matter if there’s contact at all, as long as a player grimaces in pain the other player involved would pay for his actions.
This is how it is in the league nowadays. And if the NBA goes with the tagline ‘This is why we Play’, the PBA could easily come up with its own – ‘This is why we Pay’.
Check out the video of the 2 incidents and you be the judge. – Ronald Agbada