PBA: Phoenix calls for improvement in officiating after heated game vs. TNT

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 03 2019 05:10 PM

PBA: Phoenix calls for improvement in officiating after heated game vs. TNT 1
A referee separates TNT's Don Trollano and Phoenix's Alex Mallari. PBA Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – Phoenix head coach Louie Alas reiterated his call for improved officiating in the PBA, after his team figured in a heated game against TNT KaTropa in the Commissioner's Cup on Sunday at the Ynares Center.

TNT won in a blowout, 114-88, but the score did not reflect how physical the game was. It took all of 3 minutes for tensions to escalate, and Alas was ejected from the game in the wake of a near-scuffle.

Also thrown out were Phoenix forward Jason Perkins, TNT consultant Mark Dickel, and TNT players Anthony and David Semerad. Calvin Abueva would also be tossed in the fourth quarter, after hitting TNT import Terrence Jones with a forearm to the neck.

Alas had been called for "flagrant misconduct," having pushed David Semerad aside in an attempt to calm down Abueva. After the game, the coach joked that he misjudged his own strength, as Semerad all but tumbled back after his push.

"I'm sorry, pero ganoon pala ako kalakas," he said. "Pwede na ako sa Avengers."

"Sine-separate ko kay Calvin, then medyo masama 'yung ano ko, pero hindi ko alam na ganoon ako kalakas," he added. "Anyway, next time I will be better than my emotion."

Watch more News on iWantTFC
(Video courtesy of ESPN5)

His outburst and ejection aside, for Alas there is no question that the officiating in the game left much to be desired. There were plenty of missed calls and bad calls, including one instance in the third quarter when the referee inadvertently whistled after TNT's Roger Pogoy tripped over his own feet.

Alas revealed that he has been in constant communication with PBA technical director Eric Castro about the officiating.

"Sabi ko, 'Eric, I have nothing against the officiating, I know honest kayong lahat. Pero pagpaulit-ulit 'yung mali natin, parang sa player 'yan. Sa akin ang babait ng player. Pero pagpaulit-ulit 'yung turo ko at hindi natututunan, eh I have to make some drastic action,'" Alas said.

"Sabi ko, 'Masakit mang gawin, pero 'pag hindi natututo eh, dapat pinapalitan na.' 'Di ba?" he added. "Sabi ko, 'Walang problema doon sa integrity. Walang problema. I know honest mistake. Pero 'yung paulit-ulit na mistake eh I don’t know, nasa inyo 'yung ano diyan... position niyan.'"

He has been sending video clips of the referees' mistakes to Castro, according to Alas, but all he has gotten in response are apologies.

"Pero pag paulit-ulit 'yung sorry, anong mangyayari diyan?" he said.

Even as he stressed that he is not questioning the integrity of the PBA referees, Alas also suggested that it may be time for the league to consider hiring foreign referees.

"Ang gagaling nung mga Korean referees, ang gagaling nung mga Japanese referees sa FIBA," he noted. "Pwede nating gawin 'yun, pwede nating gawin."

"Gagastos tayo ng malaki but sasabihin ko nga sa inyo, kung gusto mag-ano, baka bumalik uli 'yung mga ano... mag-interes 'yung audience natin ulit," he added. "Ayan, sayang ang liga natin. Napakalaki tapos magpe-prepare lahat ng coaches, matatalo ka lang sa mga ganiyang sitwasyon."

Phoenix team governor Atty. Raymond Zorrilla also rued the referees' inability to take control of the game. For instance, he noted that Abueva's clothesline on Jones in the fourth quarter was in retaliation after "The Beast" accused the TNT import of hitting him in the groin.

"Siyempre, mali pa rin 'yung ginawa ni Calvin, but it would not have come to that had it been called, 'di ba?" said Zorrilla. "'Yun lang, 'yun lang 'yung akin doon. But I think this is just an exemption, this game, kasi right from the very start emotions were high 'di ba."

However, Zorrilla also said that he still has faith in the PBA's technical committee.

"Maybe they're just overwhelmed," he said. "But just for this game, had they established control, things like that would not have had happened eh di ba. But I’m pretty sure the technical committee will look at it."

"I think both teams will move on from this," the Phoenix boss added. "I don't like to say that this is what the fans want 'di ba, 'cause it's not good for the players. It might be good for the fans, but it's not good for the whole of the league."

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.