‘Hey, PBA management, where are you?’By Beth Celis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“IF YOU like the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) or Pacific Extreme Combat which I know you always watch, you shouldn’t miss the sudden-death playoff between Talk ‘N Text and Barako Bull tonight at Smart-Araneta Coliseum.”
This was the text message sent to me by a PBA habitué who hardly misses a match.
The PBA regular said the first four games between TNT and Barako Bull in the Final Four have been so rough and bloody he’s sure I will enjoy the finale.
Before we go any further, let me correct this impression. I don’t like seeing blood and gore. I’ve just gotten used to seeing these things, that’s all.
Rough play I can tolerate.
A player gets bloodied every game in the series, said the PBA fan. In Game 1, “Kelly Williams suffered a fractured left cheekbone from a Ronald Tubid elbow, import Donnel Harvey sustained a fractured nose, and in the last game, Ranidel de Ocampo’s heroics merited a cut in the right eyebrow.”
After last Sunday’s game, I obtained a copy of a text message sent to a colleague, presumably by a very angry Manny V. Pangilinan, owner of the Talk ‘N Text franchise.
A copy was also sent to to PBA commissioner Chito Salud.
The message read:
“I have never been so angry in any basketball game than this one. Officiating can be bad, but this one is most foul and stupid. It has gotten to the point where you can no longer blame the referees alone, but ask, ‘Hey, PBA management, where are you?’ You should be absolutely ashamed of this game.”
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Although some quarters feel that the semifinal series has gotten out of hand, with so many players of one team getting injured, there are others like commissioner Salud who feel that this is to be expected.
“We’re now in the playoffs, so the intensity of play has obviously elevated,” said Salud. “But nothing has changed in terms of the physicality that the league allows. While tough play is permitted, rough play and thug-like moves are not. Our officiating parameters remain the same.”
Salud said he continues to personally review and evaluate the games “to ensure that our referees stick to the officiating policies laid out and to prevent unnecessary roughness and cheap shots that may hurt and injure the players.”
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Okay, so I guessed wrong. It wasn’t Topex Robinson who was appointed from among the Alaska coaching staff to replace Joel Banal as head coach, but Luigi Trillo. I completely forgot to include Trillo in the equation.
Trillo coached Adamson in the UAAP and steered Cebuana Lhuillier to a runner-up finish in the previous conference of the D-League.
The press statement issued by Alaska management said that Trillo will hold the post in an interim capacity.
People in PBA circles are asking why Jojo Lastimosa has been bypassed twice for the head coaching position. I wouldn’t know how to answer that.
Team owner Fred Uytengsu has his reasons.
I’m told that Trillo has started to get his feet wet, but that the reception he has gotten from the team— both players and and coaching staff—has been far from cordial.
How soon will the tense situation improve is a matter of time, perhaps.
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