MANILA, Philippines -- University of Santo Tomas (UST) head coach Kungfu Reyes was irate after the Golden Tigresses dropped a four-set match to Ateneo de Manila University on Wednesday, as he lamented some of the calls made by the officiating crew.
UST struggled to execute against a taller Ateneo squad, and the Lady Eagles registered 12 kill blocks en route to a 25-21, 25-18, 16-25, 25-22 triumph. It was UST's first loss of UAAP Season 81.
However, Reyes feels the complexion of the game could have changed had the referees made different calls in the closing stretch of the fourth frame.
"Pinipilit na nga naming manalo tapos tatawagan ka pa ng mga alanganing tawag," he said.
The Tigresses were down 19-16 when Reyes complained about what he felt had been a missed call from the referees, and in the confusion, UST was given a timeout that they had not called. Reyes had been arguing that Ateneo committed a rotational fault; instead, Ponggay Gaston scored for the three-point cushion.
"Nagpapakahirap kami sa training. Lahat ng pwesto tinuturo namin. Pero 'yung maling pwesto sa kabila, ayaw tawagan," Reyes pointed out.
"Pwede ba 'yung 'di nila nakita? E ano pa 'yung may officials tayo kung 'di rin nila nakikita," he added.
Reyes' frustrations boiled over after Janine Balcorta was called for a net violation that gave Ateneo a 20-17 lead. The coach went so far as to rip off his ID and throw it to the court. UST captain Sisi Rondina spent long moments discussing the issue with the first referee.
Eventually, Reyes was given a yellow card for his troubles. Ateneo went go on to lead, 23-18, before the Tigresses mounted one last rally, even coming as close as 23-22. Kat Tolentino proved to be too much, however, as the towering Lady Eagle brought Ateneo to match point. An attack error by Milena Alessandrini won the game for the Katipunan spikers.
After the game, Reyes did not hold back on his criticisms of the officials.
"Lahat ng malit na natatawag, hinahabol sa amin. Samantalang mali na doon sa harapan nila, hindi pa nagagawa 'yung action sa serve, ayaw nila tawagan. Kitang-kita, ayaw nilang i-correct ang sarili nila," he said.
"Sabi nga, s**t happens along the way, pero sa amin tumapat," he added.
Reyes said he tried his best to plead his case to the officials, but ultimately they could not do anything.
"Sasabihin nila talk to the referee, the captain ball, tapos what's next? Wala. 'Pag na-call na ng referee, wala na. Ano pa magagawa namin?" he said. "Correctable 'yung tawag. Walang challenge, eh ano magagawa natin?"
"Idadahilan natin 'yung dahilan. Walang mangyayari. Nataon sa amin, masakit nasa dulo eh," he added.
Reyes reiterated his call for qualified referees -- "Yung talagang magagaling."
The coach would prefer it if volleyball players would serve as the officials, "para they understand the nature of the game," added Reyes.
"Biruin mo, nakikita ko pa, e nagko-coach ako ng anim na to. 'Yung sa kabila, nakikita ko. Tapos sila, anong titingnan nila? 'Yung net? 'Yung checkball? Paano positioning ng tao? Nagpalit lang ng dalawa, 'di na nila alam kung tama o mali 'yung position," he said. "Alam dapat nila yung rotation, dyan sila kumikita e."
What truly irked Reyes was how the referees kept making excuses for their basic mistakes.
"Magdadahilan pa sila," he said. "Eh ano ba naman 'yung sabihin nilang, 'Di ko nakita, coach.' Pero they keep on denying. That's bulls**t."
At the end of the day, Reyes said they cannot blame their loss on the spotty officiating, although he wonders what would have happened had the correct calls have been made.
"Momentum na kami," he said. "Nag-iinit na kami. Kaya lang, bago mag-init, natapos na 'yung laban."
Fortunately for Reyes and his team, the loss won't spell the end of UST's season. They are still at 1-1, with plenty of time to make adjustments and corrections.
"Marami pa kaming dapat ayusin," the coach acknowledged. "Nasa tamang direksyon (kami). Aayusin namin, kasi may remaining games pa."
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