|UST head coach Pido Jarencio confronts a referee during Game 1 of the Growling Tigers' best-of-three UAAP Season 75 Finals series against the Ateneo Blue Eagles Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Blue Eagles defeated the Tigers, 83-78, to take a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com.
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) A visibly angry Pido Jarencio ranted against what he perceived as unfair officiating during the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers' loss to the Ateneo Blue Eagles in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 75 Finals last Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Jarencio's Tigers rallied from a 10-point deficit early in the fourth quarter, even taking a 64-63 lead midway through the period. But they could not deal with the Blue Eagles’ firepower in crunch time, eventually losing 83-78.
Jarencio was visibly furious at the officiating, especially late in the fourth quarter, when his star center Karim Abdul was called for his fifth foul with 30 seconds to go against Ateneo's Kiefer Ravena. The fiery head coach was seen railing at the sidelines, even making a slashing gesture in his throat.
"Ako, diretsahan akong makipag-usap. Hindi naman patas ‘yung tawagan," Jarencio told reporters after the game. "Sobra naman 'yun, 'yung ginawa nila kay Karim at kay Kevin (Ferrer)."
Abdul and Ferrer – UST’s best defenders – were both in foul trouble throughout the final quarter.
"Umakyat pa nga ako sa kanila (referees), sabi ko, maging fair lang tayo sa mga decision natin. I'm not against Ateneo, pero ang sinasabi ko, bakit ganoon?" Jarencio questioned.
"Unfair naman sa amin. Dahil UST lang ba kami kaya ganoon ang tawagan? Sana ayusin nila, kasi kung hindi, baka magkaroon ng People's Power dito," he added.
"Kailangan pa ba mag-English ako para paboran nila ako? Ganoon ba ang labanan dito?" Jarencio said. "Nasa Pilipinas tayo, dapat tayong mga Pilipino ang mahalin ng mga 'yan."
"Ang ninipis, ang kakapal. Ang ninipis ng tawag, ang kakapal ng mukha."
Curiously, the numbers from the game do not seem to back up Jarencio’s assertion. The Tigers were called for 17 fouls in the contest, while the Eagles were called for 21. Moreover, UST shot 26 free throws to only 12 for the Ateneo.
In the pivotal fourth quarter, the Eagles were whistled for seven fouls, giving the Tigers 10 free-throw attempts. Ateneo only shot one free throw in the fourth quarter.
But UST did not help their cause: they made only six of their 10 attempts from the line in the final period and 17-of-26 overall.
Jarencio, who appealed for fair and consistent officiating before the start of the Finals, hinted that the calls in Game 1 were similar to those in their second round match-up against the Blue Eagles, which they also lost, 66-68.
"Second coming. Tapos na noong elimination, may pangalawa na naman, ganito na naman? Wag naman di ba. Nakakaawa na eh," he said.
Jarencio is also furious at the referees' decision to not give swingman Jeric Teng free throws at the end of the game. Teng looked as though he was fouled while taking a three-pointer at the buzzer, and one of the referees signaled that there was a foul. He was not given two free throws, however, and a furious Jarencio stormed the court to confront the referees.
"Ang sinasabi ko, okay, tapusin natin 'yung laro! Eh tumawag ng foul "yung kay Teng, eh di tatlong free throw! Eh di pag-free throw-hin mo," Jarencio said. "Kahit walang oras, ang sinasabi ko, tapusin natin ng maayos lahat, di ba?"
“Eh bakit kayo tumatakbo, bakit, guilty ba sila?” he added, referring to the officials’ hasty exit after the game. “Ayaw nilang tapusin!”
The coach also said he feels sorry for the thousands of UST students and alumni who lined up early at the MOA Arena for tickets.
"Naawa naman ako sa mga estudyanteng nagbabayad ng P250, pipila ng madaling araw. Ala-una ng madaling araw nandiyan na para mapanood lang kami, mapanood lang ang Ateneo-UST game," he said.
"Tapos gaganunin lang nila, ide-deprive kami ng maganda, ng fair officiating? Wag naman," he added.
Jarencio once again requested for fair officiating. "Let the players decide, not 'yung mga officiating... Let the players decide the game, not the referee," he said.
Jarencio said the Tigers will not file a protest about the game. He is at risk of facing a sanction from the UAAP after his outburst against the referees, however.
"Ako, bahala na sila kung anong desisyon ang ibibigay nila sa akin," Jarencio said. "Ako, sinasabi ko lang ang totoo."
For Thursday's Game 2, Jarencio said his team will have no choice but to bounce back.
"Sana, 'yung mga referee bumawi din," he said.