MANILA, Philippines – UAAP Commissioner Ato Badolato acknowledged that University of Sto. Tomas (UST) cager Jeric Teng was fouled by Ateneo's Ryan Buenafe right before the buzzer sounded in Game 1 of the Eagles and the Tigers UAAP Season 75 Finals series.
The Eagles defeated the Tigers, 83-78, to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series, but Tigers head coach Pido Jarencio afterward complained about the officiating.
One of Jarencio's complaints involved Teng's last second shot. The UST swingman was fouled by Buenafe while shooting a triple, though after a review, it was revealed that there was no more time left on the clock when Teng released the shot.
During Tuesday's PSA Forum, Badolato explained why Teng was not awarded free throws. The commissioner said that Buenafe committed the foul with 0.2 seconds left, and with Ateneo in penalty, Teng should have shot two free throw attempts.
"We had to give free throws but the problem is, all the people were already on the court and Coach Pido was fuming mad, confronting the referees while they were on the way to the monitor to find out the situation," Badolato said during the PSA Forum, as quoted by Olmin Leyba of The Philippine Star.
Jarencio was seen confronting the officials and later questioned why his player was not given a chance to shoot the charities.
"Ang sinasabi ko, okay, tapusin natin 'yung laro. Eh tumawag ng foul kay Teng eh, 'di tatlong free throw," he said, pointing out that one of the officials had signaled that there was a foul.
"Kahit wala ng oras, ang sinasabi ko, tapusin natin ng maayos lahat, di ba?" Jarencio said.
Badolato explained that they had to "clear the court in order to give those free throws."
"So we decided, since it would not affect the outcome of the game, to end the game. I think we'll have more trouble if we have done that," he said.
"Had it been a three-point lead, we would have done it. It was a five-point lead, and I think it would be more tedious to remove people and give the foul shots," Badolato explained.
But Badolato believes Jarencio is wrong in his other assertion – that UST center Karim Abdul should not have been called for a foul when he tried to steal the ball from Ateneo's Kiefer Ravena with 30 seconds to go.
Replays showed that Abdul’s hand got the ball, but he was still assessed his fifth and final foul.
"While the hand of Abdul got all ball, his elbow caught the body of Kiefer. You know, Kiefer is a very good actor, so he managed to get a foul," Badolato said. "There was really a foul, so we can't penalize officials for that."
Badolato has given Jarencio a "strong reprimand" for his outburst against the officials, but has appealed for patience from the coaches, players and the fans.
"We'll be doing our utmost best to make sure there will be trouble-free Game 2, or if ever, Game 3," he said. – With a report from Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star