PBA players are fined left and right, how about referees and table officials?

The game between Alaska and Brgy. Ginebra is over. But fans are still talking about the wrong calls, missed calls and even the blunder by the table officials.

The Gin Kings dominated the game early on, but the Aces rallied back in the 4th period and even took a 6-point lead with just under 3 minutes remaining. With almost everyone expecting Alaska to cruise on to victory, Brgy. Ginebra mounted their patented fightback and eventually won the game by the slimmest of margins, 103-102.

Both teams were victims of errors by the game officials, and while it’s unfair to say that Brgy. Ginebra won because of those errors, the fact remains that referees and table officials are far from being perfect, very very far.

It’s a given that these people, referees, are only human and are therefore subject to committing mistakes. It happens even to the very best, and even in the world’s premier basketball league, the NBA.

Now, the question here is about fairness and equality.

Ever since Chito Narvasa assumed the role of PBA Commissioner, the league has become a fine-generating machine. Players and coaches are penalized for the smallest and flimsiest of infractions.

From clapping sarcastically, to pointing at a referee, to pulling down shorts to dress code violations. Name it and the PBA most probably has a fine for it.

As expected, this method of milking the players for almost every infraction imaginable does not sit well with the fans. Hence the fan-produced hashtag #ThisIsWhyWePay – a spoof from the NBA’s own tagline of This Is Why We Play.

While Narvasa admitted in an interview that he is just implementing the rules and therefore has no plans of slowing down with the fine impositions, fans are asking why game officials are not subject to a similar set of penalties if they are guilty of errors during games.

A perfect example would be the game against Alaska and Brgy. Ginebra. Both coaches were up in arms over several wrong calls and missed calls by the referees, some so glaring that you’d wonder how they became referees in the first place. Even the table officials were not spared from committing blunders.

With time down to just under 8 minutes in the 4th, Brgy. Ginebra retained possession after an unproductive play by the Aces. LA Tenorio bounced the ball off Ping Exciminiano and the Gin Kings subsequently sued for time. In the ensuing play, the shot clock was not reset to 24 which prompted Brgy. Ginebra coach Tim Cone to call another timeout as they only had 2 seconds to cross the timeline.

With pressure mounting, the Gin Kings eventually turned the ball over and the Aces buried a three-pointer courtesy of Dondon Hontiveros.

The table officials gravely committed an error by not resetting the shot clock after Brgy. Ginebra assumed possession of the ball. This is very glaring and the one responsible for this mistake should definitely be penalized accordingly. Same with the three referees who were inconsistent and incompetent with their calls all throughout the game.

These errors by the game officials leave a bad impression on the fans, and yet you won’t read any news about the Commissioner imposing sanctions on them. Since there are no press releases about this then it’s safe to say that there’s probably none at all.

Nothing. No penalties for these people who commit errors that make the games lose their luster.

Yes, these people are only humans and are prone to mistakes. But so are players. And it is the players that bring in the fans. It is the players that bring in the money!

Why players are the only ones penalized only Chito Narvasa knows. But it’s something that didn’t happen during the time of the previous commissioners, and it’s also the same reason why they had more success in running the league.

Only time will tell if Narvasa will also fine referees and table officials for mistakes during games. If he can fine players at will there’s no reason why he shouldn’t do it to them as well. No reason whatsoever. After all, lousy and incompetent officiating can damage the league in much more ways than a player can.

Either Narvasa address these issues or he fortifies the fans’ beliefs the he definitely is the worst commissioner that the PBA has ever had. – Ronald Agbada


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