MANILA, Philippines -- Far Eastern University (FEU) did not get "a fair shake" from officials in their game against the University of the Philippines (UP) on Tuesday, complained head coach Olsen Racela.
The Tamaraws absorbed a painful 73-70 defeat against the Fighting Maroons, their third consecutive loss of the UAAP Season 84 men's basketball tournament.
But Racela feels that his team was on the wrong end of calls and non-calls that could have affected the result of the contest.
"It's just unfair na we did not get the calls in the end," the coach said after the game.
Racela specifically pointed to a layup scored by UP's Ricci Rivero with four minutes to play that gave the Maroons a 67-64 advantage. The FEU coaching staff expressed their belief that Rivero had traveled on the play.
They were assessed a technical foul for their troubles, but CJ Cansino missed the free throw.
Even before the non-call on Rivero, Racela had already been telling officials that they were missing fouls on the UP big men who were defending FEU center Emmanuel Ojuola.
"Ilang games na puro hawak. Emman is one of the best guys na nagsi-seal. They're not giving him enough credit, I'm talking about the officials," said Racela. "Ang daming hawak kay Emman na hindi tinatawag."
"Kanina, I'm sure nakita niyo 'yung crucial na point in the game that, binalikan kami ng two points ni Ricci Rivero who we felt nag-travel," he added.
"'Yung sequence na 'yun: hinawakan si Emman, tapos nag-travel si Ricci Rivero. In a crucial situation, 'pag dikitan, one call or one non-call can make or break the game for us. And that's what happened," Racela stressed.
FEU still managed to tie the game at 70 with 2:37 left after Ojuola completed a three-point play. But they gave up the go-ahead baseline jumper to Zavier Lucero with 1:27 to go.
UP kept the door open for the Tams after missed free throws by Carl Tamayo and Malick Diouf, but RJ Abarrientos couldn't find his mark from long range in the waning seconds.
Racela said game officials need to be more consistent in calling games, adding: "Hindi kami makuha ng fair shake sa mga tawag."
"Kawawa naman si Emman eh. Napaka-pansensyoso ni Emman. But nga, hindi siya natatawagan ng technical," he also said. "Sinasabihan ko siya na ibibigay din 'yang tawag na 'yan, pero so far, wala kaming nakukuhang tawag sa mga hawak sa kanya."
The result notwithstanding, Racela remains proud of his team's effort against a UP team that has now won eight consecutive games in the tournament.
"I'm just proud of the way we fought today. We move on. Crucial game for us is actually the one on Thursday against NU [National University]," he said. "NU ang hinahabol namin, 'yun ang kailangan namin pag-handaan."
"We have five more games left, so matagal pa. Pero 'yun nga, crucial is the one on Thursday."
FEU (3-6) is tied with University of Santo Tomas and Adamson University for fifth to seventh places in the league standings. They are just one game behind the NU Bulldogs (4-5), who are currently in fourth.