|Players of the Barako Bull Energy Cola and the San Mig Coffee Mixers battle for the rebound in their PBA Philippine Cup game Sunday night at the Araneta Coliseum. San Mig won, 92-91. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com.
MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATED) Rafi Reavis didn't score a single basket but made one crucial play, swiping the ball off the Barako Bull rim in the dying seconds as San Mig Coffee preserved a 92-91 win over the Energy Cola in a closely fought match in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
With the game hanging in the balance, Reavis knocked off the ball while it rested on the Barako goal, wiping away the Energy Cola's chance to reverse the outcome.
For a while, there was confusion on the court as the Energy Cola maintained it's an illegal goal interference by Reavis on Rico Villanueva's close stab. The Mixers, on the other hand, claimed it’s a smart and brilliant move by Reavis.
Upon review of the tape, the referees ruled it a legal play, a defensive rebound by Reavis.
Barako coach Junel Baculi said they would also review the tape then confer with the team management on the proper action to do.
"If you ask my opinion, no disrespect to the commissioner, it's counted. We're robbed of the win, but it happens. Of course, we’re biased for us," said Baculi.
In a huddle with Barako officials after the game, commissioner Chito Salud affirmed it’s a legal play.
"Once the ball hits the rim, anybody can swipe it off. That's the rule," said Salud.
The Mixers thus escaped with the one-point thriller and again breached the .500 mark with a 3-2 win-loss record.
"We needed this one tonight obviously after two tough losses," said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.
"I don't see the last shots. But FIBA rules allow one to knock the ball out of the rim. We're not using the NBA goal-tending rule here," Cone also said. "It's really a smart play by Rafi. He’s been doing that since the rule change."
Calvin Abueva barely missed a third double-double game with 19 points and nine rebounds, leading another balanced Alaska Milk game that resulted to an 87-69 victory over Barangay Ginebra in the nightcap.
SAN MIG COFFEE 92 - Yap 21, Simon 15, Ramos 10, Barroca 9, Gonzales 9, Pingris 9, De Ocampo 8,
Devance 5, Reavis 5, Villanueva 1.
BARAKO BULL 91 - Tubid 17, Villanueva 16, Urbiztondo 14, Kramer 12, Pennisi 12, Najorda 9, Yap 5,
Anthony 4, Cervantes 2, Alvarez 0, Ballesteros
Quarterscores: 17-24, 42-48, 66-61, 92-91