Ross blames refs for free throw confusion: ‘They didn’t intervene’
“That’s probably one of the craziest games I’ve every played in.”
That’s how Chris Ross summed up a bizarre end to the game between Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel on Sunday.
With the Beermen trailing, 95-98, Chico Lanete secured an offensive rebound off a miss by Arwind Santos and was fouled by Sol Mercado with 4.5 seconds left.
But somehow, Ross took the first of what was supposed to be two free throws instead of Lanete before San Miguel called for a timeout.
During the timeout, referees slapped Ross with a technical foul for taking the free throw that led to LA Tenorio hitting the technical free throw to extend Ginebra’s lead to four, 99-95, before the officials eventually gave Lanete two shots at the line.
After a wild finish, Ginebra won, 100-96, to deal San Miguel its first defeat in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup, but not without leaving many scratching their heads and wondering what had just transpired late.
Following the showdown, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial brought in league deputy director for basketball operations Eric Castro to the press room to explain what happened.
“(Referee) Noy Guevarra was trying to give the ball to Lanete. Then, Chris Ross, was the one to step in to take free throw,” shared Castro before reading a few excerpts from the revised league rule book.
According to league rules, “a player who deliberately takes the place of the designated free throw shooter, shall be given a delay of game warning if the free throw has not been attempted. Any succeeding similar offense shall be result in an unsportsmanlike technical foul. If the free throw has been attempted by the wrong shooter the player shall be assessed an unsportsmanlike technical foul.”
The Beermen, however, argued that Ross wasn’t the one who committed the mistake, but rather, the referee.
“I didn’t get an explanation,” said the reigning two-time Defensive Player of the Year. “I stayed in my spot I was in the whole time, and I wasn’t nowhere close to the play, and the ref walks up to me and hands me the ball, and the announcer says, ‘Chris Ross at the free throw line.’ So I shoot the ball. What else am I supposed to do?”
Ross said he knew Lanete was the designated free throw shooter, which baffled him when he was the one called by the referee to step into the charity stripe.
“I knew Chico was supposed to take the free throw. I was watching the whole play. Chico was in there, he got fouled, and I thought Chico was going to the line, and they walked up to me to give me the ball, and the announcer said, ‘Chris Ross, shoot the free throw.’ So I shot the free throw. What else am I supposed to do, give the ball to Chico? I don’t know,” he said.
“I was in a lose-lose situation. I don’t know what I was supposed to do. It’s obviously the refs’ fault, all three of them because they didn’t intervene and they put the blame on me by giving me a technical. So I mean, that’s the only explanation I can give. I don’t know about you guys, but my fair assessment of the play was, they tried to cover it up by giving me the technical, and all I did was do what they told me to do. So I don’t know, if I do something different, do I get a tech? Or do I do what they tell me to do, and I still get a tech?”
SMB head coach Leo Austria came to the defense of Ross.
“[The referees] made a mistake. Although any player will do anything to get an advantage, it’s human nature. [Ross] made a mistake for being proximate to the referee. The barker didn’t even say who was fouled.”
Ross also wondered why he wasn’t ejected after incurring his second technical foul for delay of game after getting whistled with his first late in the second quarter for continuous complaining.
“I don’t know why I wasn’t ejected. Y’all’s guess is just as good as mine. I don’t know what happened,” he said.
As per league rules, the reason why Ross wasn’t tossed out of the game was that only technical fouls which are unsportsmanlike in nature, could merit an ejection. That is different from the technical foul for the delay of game, which was the second technical that was given to him, which meant his extended stay on the floor.
Castro admitted there were also lapses in the referee’s judgment, which necessitates a further review from the league’s technical committee.
“To be honest, the referees are also at fault on what happened. I won’t deny it. But again, the players know who the shooter is,” he said. “But with regards to any sanction for the referees, we’ll talk about it.”
Ross knows there’s no point to cry over spilled milk with the game already over.
“I mean, I don’t know, it was bizarre, to say the least,” he said.
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