MANILA, Philippines — For an “untimely decision” to call a foul in the last 15 seconds of La Salle’s 70-67 win over Adamson, referee Francisco Olivar Jr. was slapped a three-game suspension by the UAAP commissioner’s office on Friday.
Olivar, an international FIBA-licensed referee, whistled a foul on Adamson’s Gian Abrigo while he and La Salle’s Norbert Torres were jockeying for position as the Falcons, down 65-67, seek a defensive stop.
House rules dictate that fouls called during deadball or when the game clock is stopped in the last two minutes are automatically assessed as unsportsmanlike.
“This call resulted in an advantage to La Salle, which eventually won the game,” league commissioner Chito Loyzaga also said.
The call, which awarded La Salle two free throws plus ball possession, gave the Green Archers the opening to doom the Falcons, who clawed back from 15 down to tie the game, before they could knot the game anew.
After issues were raised on how strictly referees should call fouls down the stretch, Loyzaga cited the FIBA rule book.
“The official should not seek to interrupt the flow of the game unnecessarily in order to penalize incidental personal contact, which does not give the player responsible an advantage nor place his opponent at a disadvantage.”
He also said that consistency in application of common sense to each game, and in maintenance of balance between game control and game flow should always be given regard.
Loyzaga also pointed out that “one of the basic principles of the UAAP board is to have the outcomes of all games decided by players and not referees.”
“Taking this within context of the ADU-DLSU game, maintaining the momentum of play in the last two minutes, sometimes achieved by refraining from having to call fouls, would increase the chances of having players decide the outcome of the game.”
“The fair and sportsmanlike closure of a game, however, is made possible by the level of skill and respect on the part of both players and game officials.”
With the victory, La Salle improved to .500 and created a four-way tie with Adamson, University of the East and National University.
A frustrated Leo Austria talked to reporters last Wednesday after the game.
“From the beginning it was a physical game, then you would call such a foul late in the game,” he said. “It was a great game, and referees should let players decide the outcome.”
Loyzaga also took “full responsibility” of the actions by a member of the league’s technical community, and apologized sincerely to Austria and the Falcons.
“To Coach Leo Austria, the Adamson team and the Adamson community, please accept our sincerest apologies on this matter,” Loyzaga said.