The Philippine Basketball Association is investigating a remark made during a recent semifinals match between Meralco and Brgy. Ginebra which was captured on camera and heard clearly by TV and live streaming audiences.
“Ref, lutong luto ‘to, ah!” shouted an unidentified individual during a dead ball situation in the 10:04 mark of the fourth quarter of Game 3 which the Gin Kings eventually won, 91-84, to take a 2-1 in the best-of-five series.
Commissioner Willie Marcial said that the league is already looking into the incident.
“Nagtatanong na kami sa referees at sa mga taga-table. Inimbestigahan na namin. Hindi naman tayo pwedeng mang-akusa nang walang ebidensya,” said Marcial during an interview with Tiebreaker Times.
Meralco forward Reynal Hugnatan, who was contesting a call during that moment, took the heat from fans online especially after the 42-year old veteran was charged with a technical foul for continuous complaining.
Hugnatan, however, denied issuing the accusation.
“Sure ako, hindi ako ang nagsabi ‘nun,” stressed the 9th overall pick of the 2003 draft in an online message to Spin.ph. “Nagkataon lang na ako ‘yung nandoon na parang nagrereklamo. Narinig nila siguro ‘yung salita na ‘yun tapos timig na ‘yung camera, nasa akin kaya lahat ng nanonood, akala nila ako ang nagsabi.”
“Sa akin, okay lang naman ‘yun. Alam ko ang totoo. Sila, nakita lang nila sa TV ‘yung nangyari. Hindi ko rin sila masisisi. Opinion nila ‘yun. Hindi ko hawak ang nasa isip at puso nila. Sa akin, okay lang ‘yun. Basta ako, alam ko ‘yung totoo,” he added.
Once identified, the person responsible for making the said remark is expected to be fined heavily, just like previous instances involving players, coaches or team officials who were penalized for making statements deemed as detrimental to the league.