Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Some thoughts on officiating in hoops

Some thoughts that didn’t fit into any PBA story that I wrote the last time around….

At the 3:17 mark of the fourth quarter in the Alaska-Ginebra match, a referee whistles the Aces’ Cyrus Baguio for his sixth and last foul. Only Baguio didn’t. It was teammate Dondon Hontiveros. The referees reviewed the call and transferred the foul to Hontiveros.

I am not sure what the rule is on changing calls especially judgment ones but I have to say that what did the referee see to make that initial call on Baguio? Was he guessing or did his mind play tricks on him? Did he even see the foul?

How about the double foul on Billy Mamaril and Gabby Espinas? How on earth can you have a double foul? Obviously someone fouled first?

And here’s another. A referee calls a flagrant foul on a player. Watches the replay then downgrades it to a flagrant. Again, what the hell did he see? It looks bad because he didn’t get it right. Maybe it is better to call a regular foul first then upgrade it to a flagrant afterwards.

Do I think that referees try to make up for a botched call by not calling for one in the next? Yes, I do. The latest incident that make me believe in that was last Saturday in a game between Colegio de San Benildo and Escuela de Sophia in the MMBL. A player from CoSB was clearly fouled on a drive but the refs swallowed their whistles. It was so obvious that play stopped for a second because both teams were waiting for a whistle to blow. When there was none they continued. On the very next play – you guessed it – there was a defensive foul by CoSB on an Escuela player and there was no whistle despite it being another obvious foul that meant free throws.

A media colleague of mine opined that the referees never played organized ball at any level and thus, are incapable of distinguishing between a foul and a non-foul ad infinitum. I don’t know about whether they played or not but I never played organized ball unless inter-company or inter-village can qualify as organized ball but I certainly know a foul when I see one.

I understand that to be seated above the action it is easier to spot a foul than when one is on the court and level with the players and referees. I once tried my hand at officiating and I was horrible and told myself that I will never attempt it again. I would surmise that one should get better at it with repeated opportunities.

Again, I do not know the answers to all these that is why I am pointing them out and asking.

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