MANILA, Philippines - PBA commissioner Chito Salud yesterday slapped referee Jun Marabe a three-week suspension for a bum call he made, helping Barangay Ginebra squeeze out a 98-94 win over Rain or Shine in a see-sawing duel Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Upon review of the game tape, Salud found Marabe "grossly erred in judgment" in calling a foul on Gabe Norwood when the ROS player appeared to have clearly grabbed the ball away from LA Tenorio in a loose ball battle.
Rain or Shine was down, 94-95, with 16.5 seconds left when Marabe made the call sending Tenorio to the foul line in the process.
Tenorio drained both penalty shots, and the Kings pulled through in what was an otherwise classic battle spoiled by that Marabe call.
"Referee Marabe is suspended because of non-observance of the game officials' respective areas of jurisdiction to make a call and his disregard of the league's officiating guidelines on loose ball situations," said Salud.
ROS coach Yeng Guiao appreciated the commissioner's swift action but rued "the damage has been done."
"That call robbed us of the chance to win the game. It's a pity for it was a great game before a great crowd only for the refs to decide its outcome," said Guiao.
A crowd of over 14,000 watched the match that saw the two teams figure in 15 deadlocks and 13 lead changes.
As in their first win over Globalport, Tenorio played big in the crunch and, for this, he became the recipient of the first Accel Player of the Week honors handed out in the new PBA season.
Tenorio said he was merely repaying his new team's trust in him.
"I'd like to thank my teammates for the patience. They really helped me to adjust right away in Ginebra's system," Tenorio said.
"I will play my best to help the team win," he added.
Tenorio showed that first in the tourney’s kickoff game against Globalport, scoring only two points but dishing off 10 assists and hauling down nine rebounds. Four of his feeds and one of his two steals came in the last five minutes, helping dispel the Batang Pier’s last-ditch uprising and enabling Ginebra to notch a runaway 110-90 victory.
Against Rain or Shine last Sunday, Tenorio exploded for five of his 20 points inside the last two minutes that pulled the Kings out of a tight game.
It marked the first time since the 2009-10 edition of the same tournament that Ginebra had such a start and Tenorio aims to do all he can to further stretch the run.
"I'll continue to play hard and help Ginebra win every game," he vowed.