Semis Clasico Mystery: Why was the shotclock reset when there was no foul called during the play?


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Every basketball fan knows that the game shot clock is only reset when a foul is called, either on a defensive or on an offensive player.

In the PBA, the shot clock will be reset to 14 seconds once a foul is called on the defensive player. If an offensive foul is called, ball is awarded to the other team and shot clock is reset to 24.

This is a very basic rule without a gray area so nobody would expect an issue to arise out of it.

Until the Brgy. Ginebra vs Star Semis Game 2 came about.

With 5:51 left in the 4th and final period, play was stopped when Star’s Marc Pingris asked for a time-out. The energetic forward was forced to sue for time as teammate Paul Lee was hurt by an inadvertent elbow from Brgy. Ginebra guard Scottie Thompson.

Lee stopped on his tracks after the collision but the referee motioned for play to continue, until the signal for time-out came.

No foul was called on the play, and the break was for a 30-second time-out by the Hotshots.

When play was about to resume, there was a little bit of confusion at the scorer’s table as there seems to be an issue that’s yet to be resolved. Commissioner Chito Narvasa was also seen on camera taking part in the discussions.

The arena barker initially announced that there were still 5.7 secs left on Star’s shotclock. After the announcement, a referee went to the scorer’s table and the barker changed the call. The shotclock has been reset to 14 seconds!

Brgy. Ginebra coach Tim Cone was flabbergasted with the call and the predominantly Brgy. Ginebra crowd erupted in a howl of protest. Even TV commentator and former Purefoods/Star coach Ryan Gregorio reacted by saying, “No no no no, that cannot be’.

The decision wasn’t reversed and play continued.

While the call was not crucial or a game-changer by nature, it was obviously the wrong one and the main concern is how the officials arrived at that verdict.

There was no foul during the play, none was called even during the break. So why did they reset the shotclock? To make things worse, the league commissioner was there during the discussion – so he may have an input on the verdict.

What if it happened in the Finals? Or in the crucial and telling stages of a game? Surely, a call like that could change the outcome of the match. Which is totally unacceptable, especially in a professional league like the PBA.

Players get fined for the smallest of infractions. They get penalized for very simple things such as pulling down their shorts or failing to report to the scorer’s table for a substitution. But the referees get away with something as major as this one?

Making a wrong call of this magnitude is more damaging to the league than all of the players’ infractions combined. And from the looks of it no game official will be sanctioned. Well, why would there be when the commissioner himself was involved in the process?

Chalk up this incident as another black-eye for the league’s already questionable credibility. – Ronald Agbada


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