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3 UAAP refs banned for spotty officiating

By Jerome Lagunzad

The UAAP cracked the whipped on three erring referees who officiated the controversial Final Four matchup won by defending champion La Salle over Adamson, 82-75, over the weekend.

Commissioner Rebo Saguisag, in a letter addressed to Adamson athletic director Fr. Aldrin Suan, CM, said referees Enan Alejo, Ian Borbe, and Mollie de Luna are “immediately suspended” after making a thorough review of their respective performances in the course of the intense semifinals encounter.

Saguisag, who sat down with tournament director Mark Molina of host Far Eastern University and Ateneo’s Erika Dy in reviewing the tape last Sunday, added two of those men in gray were “strongly recommended for being banned for the rest of the season, if only to preserve the public confidence in the league.”

The big development came exactly three days after the Falcons, led by five-time UAAP champion coach Franz Pumaren, cried foul over the glaring discrepancy in free throws attempts and fouls given that they deemed aided the Green Archers’ fightback from a 15-point deficit in the second half.

Adamson incurred 33 fouls, 21 more than its counterpart, and La Salle trooped to the 15-foot line 39 times, 16 of them coming in the final period alone. The Green Archers made 26 attempts overall while the Falcons could only make two from five tries.

That resulted to Pumaren blowing his top at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum lobby as he tried to express his frustration towards game officials. “That’s the worst officiating. Hindi kami pinagbigyan ng pagkakataon maglaro,” he said.

“I don’t want to sound sour-graping but I guess everybody witnessed it. I don’t think I was outcoached. I don’t think we got outplayed. It’s so disappointing,” Pumaren added.

Suan also echoed Pumaren’s observation through their letter of protest given to Saguisag.

“From the bleacher’s standpoint, and even if one does not know how a foul can be committed, it is loud and clear that the calls made by the referees were downrightly unfair and biased,” he said.

“The manner the game was officiated was revolting and calls for an immediate action in order to forestall its duplication in the future. In hindsight, the game was marred by a biased refereeing.”