As Magnolia escaped the repeated rallies of TNT Tropang Giga to come away with a 106-98 win and reduce its deficit to 2-1 in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals, a controversial foul by Brian Heruela on Paul Lee’s three-pointer was a talk of the town.
With a little over three minutes left in the second quarter, a whistle was blown after Paul Lee’s attempt to hit a three pointer. But upon review, it was revealed that Heruela was trying to close out but did not touch Lee during the shot.
Lee was given three free throws at the 3:00 mark which he converted to give his side a 46-39 advantage and the incident gave rise to TNT’s protest while Heruela vented his frustrations after the errant call.
Meanwhile, TNT Tropang Giga team owner Manny V. Pangilinan took to social media his thoughts about the referees’ officiating in Game 3 of the final series. He felt TNT got the short end of the stick in the Game 3 loss, with Magnolia finally winning a game in the best-of-seven series after a commanding double-digit loss in the first two matches.
“Worst officiating by far tonight I’ve seen”, Pangilinan wrote in a tweet.
The referee who called the controversial foul will not be able to blow a whistle again for the time being.
According to league sources, officials were enraged after the incident and instructed the technical staff to remove the referee from the four-man rotation.
The four officials who took charge of the game were Peter Balao, Sherwin Pineda, Janine Nicandro, and Kenny Hallig.
Even before a game review is completed by the league’s technical officials led by deputy commissioner Eric Castro, league insiders mentioned that the referee will be out of the officiating roster for the rest of the best-of-seven series.
“’Di na siya pinapito,” said a league member.
TNT will once again try to regain the momentum in Game 4 of the final series on Wednesday, October 27.