MANILA, Philippines -- Star coach Chito Victolero refused to dwell on a couple of non-calls that played a major role in the Hotshots' heartbreaking 101-105 overtime loss to Barangay Ginebra in the 2017 PBA Governors Cup on Sunday.
Perhaps the most glaring of the non-calls was the referees' decision not to award Rafi Reavis with a field goal with 52.9 seconds left in regulation, after his shot was goal-tended by Greg Slaughter.
Instead, the referees only called a foul on Joe Devance, and Reavis calmly sank both charities for a 92-91 lead. It was a short-lived advantage, however, as Ginebra surged ahead, 95-92, with six-tenths of a second left before Star rookie Malcolm Hill tied the game with three charities.
There were other confusing calls -- Hill was called for his sixth foul with a minute to go despite seemingly being far away from action, and Japeth Aguilar's game-sealing tip-in with five seconds left might have been offensive interference
For Victolero, however, the officiating should not be an issue.
"Wala na tayong magagawa dun. That's breaks of the game. 'Pag hindi natin makuha 'yun, move on," said Victolero
The Star coach further explained that in a high-stakes, emotional game like the "Manila Clasico," it is imperative that all parties keep their calm and carry on no matter the officiating
"This is the Manila Clasico. Whoever controls their emotions, mas mataas ang chance manalo. I think both teams na-control naman nila," Victolero explained.
More than the calls, Victolero believes that their loss was due to their failure to get to the 50-50 balls, especially late in overtime.
"Sabi ko nga sa mga players ko, it all boils down to the breaks of the game. So every possession matters especially sa dulo. I think 'yung mga breaks like the offensive rebounds ni Japeth at 'yung mga loose balls hindi namin nakukuha," he said.
Still, Victolero is happy with the effort shown by his players, even though they dropped to 4-2 following Sunday's result.
"Happy pa rin ako sa effort at aggressiveness ng mga players ko. 'Yun naman 'yung pinag-usapan namin e, do your best effort, be aggressive, follow the gameplan," he said.
"We want a close game," he stressed. "'Yun nga lang, 'yung sa dulo (nagkulang)."
Star will try to bounce back on Saturday against Meralco.
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