PBA Commissioner Chito Narvsa yesterday suspended two erring referees that committed a blunder in a do-or-die playoff between Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Globalport in the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup last Sunday at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
Narvasa found Aquino and Gruta to have missed on two violations in the final moments of the game won by the Batang Pier in overtime, 84-83, to advance in the semifinals.
“In the deliberation with the technical committee, it was determined that two (2) violations were not called. One was the 5-second ball hogging violation, which was the responsibility of referee Rommel Gruta,” said in a statement posted by the PBA on its webpage.
“The second infraction was the backing violation of GlobalPort’s Stanley Pringle, whose responsibility was that of referee Edward Aquino’s,” added in the statement after meeting the two together with fellow referees Bing Oliva and Mardy Montoya at the PBA Commissioner’s Office.
Narvasa said only referees Aquino and Gruta will be suspended effective immediately for the rest of the league’s season-opening Philippine Cup.
“The (PBA) technical committee also determined that only referees Aquino and Gruta were liable for these missed calls,” said part of the statement, adding that the referees were apologetic.
The play involved Pringle, who held on to the ball for more than five seconds after Ginebra’s Sol Mercado and Greg Slaughter were able to trap him near mid court off an inbound play.
Globalport was up by a single point (84-83), and Ginebra head coach Tim Cone violently protested the non-call during and after the game in front of a huge crowd of 14,000 plus.
A violation would have given Ginebra the possession with at least two seconds remaining, but because no whistle was blown, the Batang Pier won the game and a trip to the semis versus top seed Alaska Aces.
Games 1 of the semifinal series of Globalport and Alaska will start Monday (Jan. 4, 2016) also at the MOA Arena.