When a bad call changes the complexion of a game
by rick olivares
We all know how referees can alter a course of a game with inadvertent whistles or even biased calls. I thought that the title game of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup played last Sunday, June 14, between La Salle and San Beda was “harmed” by one such call.
With 10.6 seconds left to play in the first half, San Beda led, 32-21, as their quick ball movement punished the Green Archers. Red Lions head coach Jamike Jarin sent in third stringers – Alfred Sedillo, Jayvee Mocon, Amiel Soberano – to complement starters Ice Reyes and Jaypee Mendoza. Reyes picked up La Salle’s Jeron Teng who tried to drive.
Incredibly, the referee whistled three free throws. Teng was more than a foot inside the arc. He didn’t pull up for the shot until well after Reyes’ foul. The Bedan bench and gallery rose in angry protest at the bad call. Jarin complained so vociferously that he was assessed a technical foul. Center Ola Adeogun kicked a huge cardboard box of popcorn onto the court and was also given a technical foul. The whole mess took several minutes to sort out and to be pacified before Teng hit all five free throws given to him to cut the lead to 32-26. What seemed like a semi-comfortable margin for San Beda now wasn’t anything like it now.
On court, the Bedan gallery rained abuse on the referees as they made their way to the sanctuary of their room. Inside San Beda’s locker room, the team was given three minutes to regain their composure.
“Marami sa amin galit na galit,” recounted Arthur dela Cruz. “Mali kasi yung tawag. Maling mali.”
After the short reprieve, Jarin gathered his team and discussed the game plan and adjustments heading into the second half of play.
The Red Lions team that returned to the court for the third quarter was different. If there was a joy to their game in the late first quarter heading into the second as they tore apart La Salle’s defense with quick ball movement and pinpoint passing, they wore their game faces now. Stoic. Smoldering anger.
In their first offensive, Adeogun pulled down an offensive board and put it back for an and-one. Teng was whistled for an offensive foul after which Thomas Torres turned the ball over. If there was anyone I thought who would play with a chip on his shoulder it was Torres. He played extremely well in the latter stage of the tournament with some incredible shooting and quarterbacking. But he wasn’t going to make the mythical selection for the tournament because others simply had better stats.
That was diffused by San Beda’s second half onslaught.
Dan Sara pressed and filched the ball from Torres. Koga was fouled by Torres who cussed and was levied a technical foul.
Dela Cruz found a cutting Mendoza with a nifty bounce pass for a layup. Adeogun muscled inside for a twinner. The lead was 14, 40-26, when La Salle rookie Andrei Caracut buried a triple.
Dela Cruz found Mendoza again for an undergoal stab. Adeogun used two hands in rejecting a strong Abu Tratter drive then Koga fed Mendoza on the break for a deuce. Caracut drilled another three.
It seemed that San Beda could do no wrong as they finished the period, 59-37. After Caracut’s third period triples, his guns fell silent the rest of the way. But Jeron Teng courageously tried to pick up the slack. But it wasn’t enough.
The Green Archers have a young squad with some seasoned veterans. Whatever their experience, they have never encountered anything like this before with the crowd howling in equal parts disgust and gusto and their opponent cranking up their game several notches higher. They wore their youth and inexperience on their faces. I thought that they recoiled from the ferocity shown by San Beda and save for Teng and in certain instances by Jason Perkins who banged around, they didn’t respond.
The Red Lions didn’t let up on the barrage to finish with a 26-point rout, 79-53, to bag their first Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.
It is rather unfortunate that a bad call like that spoiled what could have been a grand finals between the two schools that have squared off from the Yolanda benefit game to the last PCCL finals and now two consecutive Filoil Cups. Despite the lead at that time, I didn’t think for one minute that La Salle was out of it. They started out well but San Beda answered with a run of their own. Even with a young team, they have the talent to compete. After all, they made it this far even without Arnold Van Opstal who was playing in the D-League and Prince Rivero who was on national team duty. They had injuries at one time or another to Teng to Kib Montalbo who still cannot play.
If La Salle won, they would have been one step away from the Perpetual Trophy of the Filoil tourney. Pre-season or not, it is something good to have in one’s trophy case.
Hopefully, when the college season tips off, we won’t have many of this terrible calls that affect a team’s performance.