MANILA, Philippines - In the wake of the controversies over officiating that hounded the last UAAP Season 75 men’s basketball wars, the league is mulling the possibility of assigning a commissioner with at least a three-year tenure and maintaining its own pool of referees.
“We’ve been discussing about getting a permanent commissioner and we’re now asking all the schools to give us names (prospects) so we can come together and decide which one (will get the job). There will be a tenure, three years, and perhaps we can extend it if we’re happy, we can replace him if we’re not,” UAAP board member Ricky Palou of Ateneo revealed.
Under the present set-up, a commissioner serves in the UAAP for one season.
Ato Badolato, who assumed the position in the 75th season, said a fixed term could be helpful but won’t necessarily “cure” the problems.
“It will help but not completely cure the problems. Having a permanent commissioner for at least three years, the coaches and players will get used to the kind of officiating, they’ll not adjust again every year,” he said.
“Perhaps, coaches and players should also be taught that referees will make mistakes so as long as they demand 100 percent na walang mali (flawless officiating) from the referees, mahihirapan (it’s going to be difficult). But it will help in a way,” he added.
In the UAAP, the commissioner also does not have the final say on game-related issues.
In the last season, Badolato junked a protest lodged by National U on a setback to Far Eastern that was decided by a last-second shot by Tams’ ace RR Garcia but NU elevated its case to the board of trustees, which eventually overturned his verdict and ordered a replay instead.
There was a second protest filed by University of Santo Tomas for a non-call of a technical foul on a complaining Ateneo coach Norman Black in their second round meeting. But the league went along with Badolato’s decision to turn down the protest this time.
UST coach Pido Jarencio had also slammed what he perceived as “biased officiating” in Game 1 of the finals and got a strong reprimand for it.
“We’re also looking at having our own pool of referees because every year, there are issues on referees,” said Palou.
The referees, however, may have to be culled from current referees groups, like that of the SBP.
“We’ll choose and put them in payroll, give monthly retainer fee or something like that, have somebody really train them properly and hopefully, we’ll improve the officiating. Like I said, all coaches, even winning coaches complain about (officiating) so we’d like to do something about it and put it (complaints against officiating) at a minimum,” he added.