17 March 2015

Where Are The Refs?

Big Beau Belga
'Twas the night before teams will finally be eliminated, when all through the basketball court not a referee was stirring, not even for a blink; The players are throwing elbows and choking each other without care, in hopes that a call will be made to stop the game, but none came.'

All of that happened last 15 March 2015 when the Rain or Shine Elastopainters escaped with a 82-79 come-from-behind victory against the Barangay Ginebra Kings. A review was called and the focused was on the burly Raon or Shine forward, Beau Belga, who was involved in at least three controversial skirmishes with Ginebra players.

The Gilas Pilipinas reserve first got entangled with Mark Caguioa as the two jockeyed for possession during a rebound battle, and then later on fell - unintentionally or not. The veteran Ginebra player had to put his arms around Belga's neck and shoulder ust to to get the referee's attention.

Belga later fell on Eman Monfort as he tried to chase him down while the Ginebra point guard was streaking downcourt for a basket. A regular foul was called on Belga.

The veteran center from Philippine Christian University (PCU) also had a heated exchange of words with import Michael Dunigan just as the two teams were going to their respective benches during a timeout.

All those times, the PBA three officials either let the situation run by itself or made inappropriate calls that did not match the violation committed. To everyone who saw the game, it was obvious that Belga already committed a foul against Caguiao, but had to wait for the latter to grab Belga's neck before they do anything.

In Belga's action towards Monfort, he dropped his knees on the small player's face which already merits a flagrant foul penalty 1 (FFP1), but was only whistled for a regular foul. What were the referees doing? Does the knee-to-the-face foul not merit a FFP1 call?

Then there was this verbal skirmish between Dunnigan and Belga, which was not even reviewed during the time-out that followed. Are the referees too busy to even push the rewind button and give both players a warning or it was just a plain indifference on their part?

It was also not clear why Barangay Ginebra was allowed to substitute two players inside the playing court after a 30-second timeout was called. According to the rule book, a team could replace one player once a 30-second respite was called. In the last game, both LA Tenorio and Mac Baracael were sent in in favor of Chris Ellis and Monfort when only one exchange should have taken place.

It is not certain if there is a clause that says,"a player should avoid actions that are detrimental to the league," but when Belga directed a 'dirty finger' gesture towards a fan, is it not a conduct that discredits the PBA? If yes, why did the referees not call anything at all? There is a rule prohibiting players from physically engaging any fan watching in the venue, but taunting and disrespecting a fan should also fall in that realm of regulations.

Belga and teammate Raymond Almazan were being called to the Commissioner's office for who knows what. However, what is surprising is why not one Ginebra players was also called to explain their role and why were the referees not compelled to explain their actions to the paying public?

Is the league playing favorites and tries to protect the wrongdoings of their officials? We only have Commissioner Chito Salud's words to assure everyone that it is not the case, which is not really much.

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