Violence has no place in a game | Inquirer Sports
One Game At A Time

Violence has no place in a game

THE RECENT lifetime ban and stiff fine imposed on PBA D-League coach Alvin Pua should be a cause for reflection on how coaches and teams should conduct themselves along the sidelines.

Pua punched referee Benjie Montero during one timeout out of disgust over a warning and the alleged “attitude” of the referee.  It was not the first time Pua was involved in incidents with game officials.

Physical violence or verbal abuse against officials are never proper and merit sanctions from the leagues that run games.

In any basketball league, there is inherent pressure to win. More so in club or professional play where team owners invest substantial sums out of their love for the game or to gain substantial media exposure.


Coaches carry the onus of having to deliver wins. Their jobs are on the line and, as we all know, when things don’t go well for a team, it’s the coach that gets the boot and hardly ever do star players get blamed for losses.

And in the drive to score more wins and titles, coaches end up pouring their frustrations on game officials. Remember that coaches are along the sideline, inhibited only by narrow sidelines from actually being with the players and referees.

A former star player and coach once told me that it’s utterly frustrating when referees mess up your drive to win a game. It can be when the entire coliseum sees a foul against your team and the “zebras” (an old tag on the refs who used to wear stripes) swallow their whistles and let the action continue.

One coach told me that there are a lot of new young refs who work to impress their bosses along the sideline and therefore whistle everything. “Daming hangin ng pito (Whistles have lots of air),” the coach would say in obvious amusement over an abundance of calls.


But regardless of the frustrations of the coaches and the sincere effort of leagues to try to “improve officiating,” there will always be complaints.  All teams want to win and refs try to do the best possible job. But in the end, human interpretation and error step into the picture.

It’s a little like traffic in the metropolis: No matter what officials do, there are just too many vehicles and too many motorists’ bad habits. You just have to pick your time of departure or alternative routes.


So what should be the proper bench decorum in this vortex of intensity, competitive fire and human error?

In spite of the pressure, coaches have to manage their fire, if not rage for the sake of their teams. A current coach tells me that given all your frustrations, your players must see you composed and in control. The minute they see you going berserk, pouring all your guts on the refs or berating everybody on your bench, then havoc has crept in. It’s hard to win games with that kind of intensity.

Not everybody can be cool in a fire, but calmly asking officials for a clarification without side comments from assistants or team managers can be done.

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Complaining within bounds is acceptable but completely losing it has no place in the game.

TAGS: Alvin Pua, Basketball, PBA D-League

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