UAAP execs shed light on officiating concerns, Momowei suspension

Rom Anzures, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 19 2023 12:06 PM

 From L-R: Acting UAAP Basketball Commissioner Atty. Mariana Lopa, UAAP Executive Director Atty. Rene Saguisag Jr., Season 86 President Rodrigo Roque. Photo from UAAP Media.
From L-R: Acting UAAP Basketball Commissioner Atty. Mariana Lopa, UAAP Executive Director Atty. Rene Saguisag Jr., Season 86 President Rodrigo Roque. Photo from UAAP Media.

MANILA — The University Athletic Association of the Philippines Office of the Commissioner on Saturday cleared the air on concerns about the league’s officiating and decision-making.

Among the league-related issues tackled were Adamson head coach Nash Racela’s officiating concerns, Precious Momowei’s suspension that led to him being disqualified from the Rookie of the Year award, the ‘resignation’ of University of the East chairman Zosimo Battad, and basketball commissioner Xavy Nunag’s leave of absence.

UAAP Executive Director Rebo Saguisag, acting commissioner Mariana Lopa, and UE athletics director and Season 86 president Rod Roque appeared before the media at the Araneta Coliseum to shed some light on these issues, while also clarifying the status of commissioner Nunag and of Dr. Battad.

UE’s Roque explained that Dr. Battad had only expressed his resignation "verbally", and that they will still wait for formal word at their next board meeting. 

"There was no written resignation yet. All I can say is maybe (that was said) because of the height of emotions — but there will be a Board of Trustees meeting some time [next] week, and we’re going to clear it up as soon as the BOT is done.”

Meanwhile, Saguisag bared that Nunag’s leave of absence was due to his wife’s pregnancy.

"There were some insinuations na ni-link yung kanyang leave of absence as a ‘graceful exit,’ which I need to address. There’s no such thing. The wife is six weeks pregnant, and I’m authorized to say na she’s facing a high-risk pregnancy."

He then said that Dr. Battad’s "resignation" might be a result of Momowei’s suspension during their Ateneo game. 

"Safe to say — based on that meeting — maybe some connection. But that’s not my story to tell. It happened in the same meeting, maybe some disappointment set in. [But] we’ll probably get a clearer picture of how things will go next week.”

Finally, Saguisag and Atty. Lopa touched on the officiating concerns that came over the past few game days. 

“Yung [free throw] disparities which is ‘madalas ilabas’ about disparity in fouls. I think those of us who understand the game, we cannot just judge it on bare numbers. Kailangan talaga ibangga din,” said Saguisag.

“If you see the game, kailangan talagang may bangga dun. If talagang hindi umaatake ‘yung isang team, ganun talaga. You cannot call fouls when there is none. I’m not saying na it’s necessarily right or wrong, but always ‘yung bare numbers just like statistics, are not conclusive indicators of bias in this case,” he added.

On the other hand, Atty. Lopa said that the call on Momowei is final and cannot be downgraded since it has already undergone their office’s review process. 

“We understand where some of the confusion lies. [UE] was asking too if the unsportsmanlike foul could be downgraded. What's the process when we receive an appeal like that? We take a look at the play again multiple times more times than you guys want to know,” said Lopa.

“We consult with our technical heads, we consult with our referees, not just the calling referee, but our team of referees. And we arrive at a consensus on whether or not it can be downgraded or excluded from accumulation.”

“In this case, when we reviewed the specific play, our mind didn't change,” the former Ateneo player added.

Watch the interview here: 

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