Barako Bull forward Rico Maierhofer said it was never his intention to use his basketball shoe as an instrument to deflect the ball, much less to disrespect the game during his team’s 116-113 loss to San Miguel Beer in the PBA Governors’ Cup last Wednesday.
“Hindi naman ganun, hindi ko naman intention na gamitin yung sapatos para palpalin yung tira or anything. Nawala na din sa isip ko na hawak ko pa yung sapatos,” Maierhofer said when contacted by TEMPO yesterday.
“Siyempre, defensive player ako e, yun ang trabaho ko sa team, to block shots. So ang instinct ko, stop yung shot, na nagawa ko,” said Maierhofer, whose play has been christened as ‘shoe-palpal’ by netizens.
Maierhofer lost his size-13 green/orange Nike KD7 shoe following a layup. He picked up the shoe while hurrying back on defense to guard SMB’s Arwind Santos midway in the second period.
With the shoe in his right hand, 6-foot-6 Maierhofer deflected Gabby Espinas’ pass intended for Santos, and Barako Bull was able to score following that stop.
The referees did not stop the play and one league observer, who requested anonymity, said that the least the officials could have done was to call interference and give SMB a two-point basket.
PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial said that Commissioner Chito Salud has not decided whether or not to summon Maierhofer or what action to take.
A league insider said that the PBA rulebook doesn’t state any rule regarding players using a foreign object to get an advantage in such case.
The same league source added that the PBA is using its own rulebook and not the one used by FIBA or the NBA.
But under Article 4.4.1 of the 2014 Official Basketball Rules of FIBA, it states that, “All equipment used by players must be appropriate for the game. Any equipment that is designed to increase a player’s height or reach or in any other way give an unfair advantage is not permitted.”
Another PBA source said that the Board of Governors might tackle the issue in its next meeting and make changes on its rulebook to avoid repetition of such hilarious but serious matter.
The pro league has come under fire lately with its poor officiating, and coaches – particularly Rain or Shine’s Yeng Guiao and Star Hotshot’s Tim Cone have been openly critical as of late.