The Philippine Basketball Association admitted that the referees who officiated Game 4 of the semifinal series between Brgy. Ginebra and Meralco failed to call a clear foul on John Pinto for holding on to the jersey of LA Tenorio during an inbound play in the final 21.7 seconds of the match.
League operations and technical director Eric Castro said that the assigned referee was not in a good position to call a foul on the Bolts guard.
“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 Castro upon review of the game tape.
“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, who received the inbound pass from Scottie Thompson, stumbled to the floor upon contact with Pinto and eventually went out of bounds. The referee closest to the action called the violation and awarded the ball to Meralco.
Castro admitted that there was indeed contact on the part of Pinto but it happened after Tenorio went over the sideline.
“He was already out of bounds by the time na tinamaan na siya. We reviewed it and walang foul doon,” said the league official.
The Bolts, who were trailing by a point before the contested play, grabbed the lead in the ensuing play courtesy of long two by Reynel Hugnatan. The Norman Black-mentored squad then preserved the victory after Raymond Almazan rejected an undergoal stab by Stanley Pringle.
While the non-call certainly affected the Gin Kings’ chance of winning the game, Castro begged the team’s fanbase for understanding since game officials don’t have the same vantage point as that of viewers.
“I don’t know how we’re going to let the public understand na siyempre yung vantage point ng mga nanonood at nung mga tao na nanonood sa telebisyon, iba yung vantage point ng referee,” said Castro.
“So it boils down to positioning. If you’re not in a good position to make a call talagang mami-miss mo yung tawag. Pero kaysa naman sa manghuhula ang referees natin. Mas nakakatakot yun,” he added.