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PBA games getting wild; refs under fire

Barako Bull's Liam Paul McMorrow and TNt's Steffphon Pettigrew battle for ball rebound during PBA action at Ynares Antipolo City.    Photo by Tony PIonilla

With their losing streak mounting, the Star Hotshots appeared to be losing their cool with one of their officials confronting a referee and their coach giving a mouthful to a San Miguel Beer player who allegedly elbowed one of his boys during a game last Sunday.

The incidents were the latest to give the PBA another black eye as officials and coaches continue to bemoan the officiating. A few days ago during a Governors’ Cup game in Dubai, the game was stopped three times following scuffles among players and an incident involving Rain or Shine Coach Yeng Guiao who was so mad about the officiating he had to be calmed down by Commissioner Chito Salud.

Again, during the SMB-Star Hotshots game last Sunday, it was officiating in the forefront of the confrontations

Hotshots’ representative to the board, Rene Pardo, had to hold a referee by the arm so he would listen to his complaints.

The incident will be reviewed today by Salud who just arrived from Dubai. It could not be ascertained whether Pardo’s action, that of physically touching a referee during a game, calls for a penalty.

Pardo dismissed the incident as nothing more than a conversation. “No… wala naman. Tapos na din nangyari na,” he said.

The incident did not go unpunished though as Pardo was assessed a technical for pulling the arm of referee Rommel Gruta in the second quarter.

Pardo blamed the referee on why he had to act that way. “Actually mali na nga yung tawag (double dribble on Alex Mallari), ang sabi ko kausapin lang niya ‘yung coach ko (Tim Cone) to explain. Kaso layo siya ng layo mamaya ng mamaya. Kaya hinawakan ko sya,” said Pardo.

“Pero ang sabi binangga ko daw, which is hindi naman totoo,” added Pardo.

Cone also got into the act late in the fourth quarter when he confronted San Miguel star Arwind Santos, who swung his elbow on Hotshots reinforcement Marqus Blakely.

The incident resulted in a second technical foul on Santos that led to his ejection. The former Most Valuable Player had a technical in the first quarter when he engaged in a verbal altercation with Star’s Marc Pingris.

PBA operations chief Rickie Santos said he had already informed Salud about the incident. Salud was scheduled to arrive from Dubai last night and is expected to review the game tape today.

The heated affair only added the frustrations of the Hotshots, who dropped their third straight game.