The PBA’s comedy of errors
By Al S. Mendoza
SAN Miguel Beer battles Magnolia Hotshots today (Feb. 4) in Antipolo City.
The winner will hold solo leadership as both teams from the San Miguel Corp. conglomerate are tied for the PBA Philippine Cup lead with identical 5-1, win-loss cards.
That should not have been the case.
But the Beermen missed owning a 6-0, win-loss card when they bowed to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in a controversial 100-96 loss on January 28.
San Miguel Beer was partly to blame for the setback.
But that is going ahead of the story.
Ginebra, playing minus its usual sharpness, sputtered from the start.
The Gin Kings lagged behind by double digits until the Beermen gave them an opening in the third quarter.
That’s when SMB coach Leo Austria pulled out his starting five in favor of his second unit.
It backfired as Ginebra’s first crew pounced on the mismatch.
The Gin Kings would take control of the game practically the rest of the way.
But briefly late in the fourth and final quarter, the Beermen brought their famous fight-back to life.
They crept to within two points, 96-98, with 4.6 seconds remaining.
And then controversy took over.
After a rebound scramble underneath the San Miguel goal, Beerman Chico Lanete got fouled.
However, instead of Lanete going to the stripe for his two foul throws, Chris Ross took the honors.
It happened because:
One, the referee gave the ball to Ross.
Two, Ross obeyed the referee and took aim.
Three, after Ross missed the free throw, the error was discovered.
Four, Ross received a technical for usurpation of power.
Five, L.A. Tenorio of Ginebra made both technical free throws for the Gin Kings’ 100-96 lead.
Six, Lanete would next attempt his foul shots, which he both missed.
Time would next expire with Ginebra walking away with that 100-96 victory.
The following day, suspensions and fines were slapped by brand-new Commissioner Willie Marcial.
Ross was assessed P20,000 for repeatedly complaining plus P5,000 for his foul-throw infraction.
All three referees and the standby referee were suspended for ineptness/incompetence.
And then this one made me cry: The barker was also suspended for saying Ross was the free-throw shooter.
But this one made me laugh hard: A table official seated next to the barker was also suspended.
His crime? He told the barker, “I think Ross was the one fouled in that play.”
For a wrong opinion “obeyed” by the barker, the table official got rapped.
That was “fake news” in a basketball game?
But why would a game announcer—commonly referred to as the “barker”—be also suspended?
For announcing a wrong information given to him?
So that, from here on, he should double-check, verify, first every information relayed to him?
Even if that bit of news came from the referees themselves?
Who will he go to for verification?
The janitor might be qualified as well.
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