MANILA, Philippines – The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers plan to file a protest regarding their heartbreaking loss to the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles in the second round of the UAAP Season 75 men's basketball tournament Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Blue Eagles beat the Tigers, 68-66, to clinch the top seed and the twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
But the Tigers plan to put the loss under protest, citing two questionable decisions in the crucial final seconds of the ball game.
UST head coach Pido Jarencio said they will cite the referees' decision not to call a technical foul on Ateneo coach Norman Black in the last seven seconds, as well as the goal-tending violation called on star center Karim Abdul with five seconds to go.
"Hindi tinawagan ng technical si Norman Black, he was crossing the line. Hindi pwede 'yun, once nag-cross ka, technical dapat," Jarencio said in an interview with ABS-CBNnews.com.
With 18 seconds to go, the Tigers were able to steal the ball on the inbounds which led to Abdul’s go-ahead jumper in the last 7.7-seconds.
"After noon, sumugod siya (Black). Pumunta siya eh may warning na siya for the same incident," Jarencio pointed out.
"Game-changer sana 'yun kung binigyan siya ng technical," he added.
Jarencio said UAAP Commissioner Ato Badolato should have instructed the referees to call a technical foul.
He pointed out that in a previous game against the National University Bulldogs, he was assessed a technical foul for confronting Emmanuel Mbe even without being given a prior warning.
"Si Norman Black sumugod sa kanila, kung anu-ano ang sinabi... Pwede ba tayo na ganoon, takutan pala tayo?... May pinapaburan ba sila?" Jarencio said.
As for the goal-tending call on Abdul, Jarencio said it was the wrong call because there was no chance that the shot was going to go in.
In Ateneo's final offensive play, Ryan Buenafe drove to the basket and was fouled, but Abdul blocked his shot after the whistle. After a review, the referees ruled that it was a goal-tend. Buenafe made the extra free throw to put Ateneo ahead for good, 68-65.
"Yung goal-tend, isa pa 'yun. Wala namang chance pumasok ‘yung bola," Jarencio said.
Jarencio said they will file the protest within the day.
"Kung ano ang desisyon nila, okay lang. Kung hindi ika-count 'yung panalo ng Ateneo at magp-play off kami, wala kaming problema," Jarencio said.
When asked what will happen if the UAAP turns down their protest, Jarencio said there will be no problem with that as well.
"Basta ang point namin, nailabas namin. Ang punto rito, kung ano 'yung pinag-laban mo, kung bakit ka nag-protesta," he said.
The Tigers' loss puts their record at 9-4. They are currently in third place in the UAAP standings and will play their final game of the elimination round against the University of the East Red Warriors on Thursday.