For the next 48 hours following Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup best-of-7 championship series, I had been trying to track down Ronnie Magsanoc and Jojo Lastimosa.
I was watching these two PBA legends on AKTV Central and was terribly impressed with their insights and analyses of the games between Talk ‘N Text and Rain or Shine.
It’s very rare that technical talk on any sport catches my interest, much less hold it, but one time—I think it was Game 2—I found myself transfixed as I listened intently to the duo’s highly perceptive exchange.
Jolas and Ronnie talked both from a player and a coach’s point of view and everything they said made a lot of sense. For the first time, I enjoyed listening to technical basketball analysis. The Ronnie/Jolas tandem helped the ordinary viewer understand what was going on in the game.
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What I had wanted to ask Ronnie and Jolas, or at least one of them, was an evaluation of the officiating in Game 3, which Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao said had been lopsided in favor of Talk ‘N Text.
Yeng said Rain or Shine had the chance to win the game but the referees spoiled their chances.
“There were several calls which I thought we could have gotten. Ranidel (de Ocampo) hit Gabe (Norwood) in a rebound, but no foul was called. There was also no call on Jayson Castro’s last steal from Chris Tiu. Ryan Reyes’ attempt on Paul Lee was called as a foul. We felt that Ryan had initiated the contact, pero hindi ito binigay sa amin.”
“Those situations, malaking bagay sa amin yun. They didn’t give it to us. We tried our best, but the refs ruined our chances.”
It is in this frame of mind that Yeng goes into Game 4 of the title series, which could also be the last of the series.
Some scribes felt that Yeng had thrown in the towel when he muttered during the post-game interview last Sunday that the Elasto Painters were just trying to delay the inevitable. Or words to that effect.
When another scribe asked if an unprecedented comeback from a 0-3 deficit to seize the title was still possible, Yeng was in no mood to be optimistic.
“Eh hindi pa nga maka-isa, four straight pa?” he muttered.
Anyway, although Yeng made it known that he is not filing a formal complaint against the refs (“because it’s useless”), PBA commissioner Chito Salud said the officiating has been “fair and square, with no team receiving help from the referees. The players will decide the game.”
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Reacting to the proposal of commissioner Salud for Smart Gilas to get at least one player from every PBA team, SBP vice chair Ricky Vargas sounded happy over the offer.
“Beggars can’t be choosers,” he said, “but the proposal has been very encouraging because the PBA, its owners and officials have committed to the objective of forming not only the best but the most competitive team to represent our country.
Should other teams want to lend more than one player to Smart Gilas, Salud said they are free to do so.
The Fiba-Asia Championship, which we last won in 1987, is the qualifier for the 2014 Fiba World Cup, which will be held in Spain.