Brgy. Ginebra was primed to finish off Meralco in Game 4 of the best-of-five semifinal series in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup.
With the Gin Kings holding on to a slim 1-point lead, 80-79, and in possession with just 21.7 ticks left on the game clock, Scottie Thompson inbounded the ball to LA Tenorio who was being hounded by John Pinto. As Tenorio was about to receive the pass, Pinto held on to his jersey for a brief moment. A slight nudge from the burly Meralco guard knocked Tenorio down and forced him out of bounds.
The referees called the violation and awarded possession to Meralco.
The PBA on Thursday admitted that a foul should’ve been called on Pinto.
“We admit that we missed on that. At solely ang responsibility na yun ay doon sa center referee. He wasn’t able to make a call” explained league operations and technical director Eric Castro.
“The refs will call as is, what they see, they will call. It so happened on that situation, the center referee was not in the proper position to make a call,” he added.
Tenorio posted on his Instagram account a photo of Pinto clinging on to his jersey.
“Pinost ko lang naman ‘yun just for them to be aware. Pero they made their judgment call na no-call so we can’t do anything about it,” said Tenorio.
“Again, ‘di na natin mababalik ‘yun. Probably nakita nila ‘yun but at the end of the day nobody’s perfect. There’s no perfect officiating. It’s always been like that naman, kahit saang liga, ‘di lang naman sa PBA,” he added.
The 36-year old native of Nasugbu, Batangas hopes that the unfortunate incident serves as a learning experience for the erring game officials.
“Hopefully, it’s a learning experience for them, especially on a crucial part of the game. That’s crucial. They (Meralco) are in penalty and they (referees) didn’t call the foul. It could have been a different ball game.”
Moving forward, the 3-time PBA Finals MVP is looking to lead the crowd darlings past the Bolts and into the next round since he is not yet ready to leave the PBA bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
“I’m kinda used to being here na. Medyo komportable pa ako dito so sana makapag-stay pa kami dito for the next two weeks.”