MANILA, Philippines -- Ateneo veteran Bea de Leon apologized to the officials who called their UAAP Season 81 game against University of Santo Tomas on Wednesday, after her outburst in the third set.
De Leon was frustrated with a pair of calls that came in the closing stretch of the frame, when the Lady Eagles were trying to stay alive against the Golden Tigresses.
Ateneo was ahead, 24-22, when de Leon was called for a crossing violation. In the next rally, they were whistled for a rotational fault that allowed UST to knot the count. De Leon was visibly upset at the calls, and demanded an explanation from the referees.
She was even seen holding up one finger and mouthing "Isa pa." Ultimately, De Leon would help Ateneo claim the third set, as she connected on a quick kill for a 25-all deuce. After a Maddie Madayag block, she served an ace to send the match to a fourth set.
"We had to get that set eh," De Leon would say afterward. "We had to get that set, obviously it was crucial. It was 24-something, and then imagine, para tumawag ng ganoon."
De Leon said that in their experience, referees would sometimes let calls go.
"Sasabihan nila kami . . . 'Ma'am, hindi ko naman pwedeng tawagan, kasi let them play eh.' So, di ba, parang hindi mo alam kung saan pupunta kasi ang nipis ng tawag. Eh minsan naman, they let it go," she said.
"Yun 'yung frustrating part lang with me. And of course, other than that, I just really wanted to win. For me to get those small calls, nakaka-frustrate, siyempre."
Ultimately, De Leon and the Lady Eagles would move past the crucial calls and force a fifth set. There, they proved to be the more composed team, and come away with a 19-25, 22-25, 27-25, 25-22, 15-11 triumph.
De Leon revealed that she apologized to the referees afterward, particularly to second referee Mark Santos who was on the receiving end of most of her ire.
"I hope the refs don't take it the wrong way. I apologized naman talaga after the game, to the second ref especially," said de Leon, who escaped a yellow card for her conduct.
"Kasi, siyempre dala rin siya ng emotions. So parang, yung 'isa pa' na 'yun, it was 'Sige, tawagan mo ng isa pa.' Parang ganoon. So, well, nag-sorry naman ako and sabi niya naintindihan niya naman ako. Talagang all emotion," she added.
De Leon finished the game with 11 points, six of which came on kill blocks. The Lady Eagles improved to 7-1 with the win, tightening their hold at the top of the league standings.
"We just really remind each other to be patient, and at the end of the day, teamwork talaga," de Leon said of their come-from-behind win. "Whatever happens… we go back to basics and be patient with ourselves."
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