20 April 2017

Make No Mistake, Arm-Bar Is Back in the PBA

In case there is a confusion on the new PBA rules, a few weeks ago, commissioner Chito Narvasa has already announced that the pro league will re-allow the use of the arm-bar in defending an offensive player with his back to the basket anywhere from below the extended free throw line. This was adopted effectively at the start of Commissioner’s Cup where the import height limit is 6-10.

Narvasa said the arm-bar was nearly reinstated for the second conference last season but the plan was scuttled.

"We consult the coaches whenever we intend to adjust the rules," he said. "Last year, we couldn't be sure about the consistency of letting go the contact with the arm-bar or not so we decided to postpone bringing it back. Now that our referees are more comfortable in working within our officiating philosophy, we think the timing is right to re-allow the arm-bar particularly as we've got big imports playing in the Commissioner’s Cup."

Narvasa explained that no foul will be called on the defensive player using the arm-bar on the offensive player’s back for as long as the elbow isn't extended beyond a 90 degree angle and no weight is put on the arm. At the moment, the arm-bar will be allowed only if the offensive player has ball possession. Once the offensive player faces the basket, no arm-bar will be allowed.

However, Narvasa said he will consult both the PBA technical group and PBA coaches on the possibility of allowing the arm-bar even if the offensive player has no ball possession. The arm-bar may be a defensive tool to push an offensive player out of his comfort zone at the post as he positions himself for an entry pass.

"Once a player like JuneMar Fajardo establishes his position at the low post with the ball, an arm-bar won't stop him from making a power move to the basket or a turn-around, fadeaway," said a source. "But if the arm-bar is allowed while JuneMar is on the way to establishing his position at the low post without the ball, it could make a difference. It will be a tool to defend imports in the second conference."

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