Referee blunder gets Castro going in Gilas win over New Zealand
TAIPEI – Referees are often times blamed for stopping a player’s momentum with a lousy call.
But in a very, very rare instance on Friday afternoon, a lousy judgment by a referee got Jason Castro going for Gilas Pilipinas against the Wellington Saints of New Zealand in the Jones Cup at Xinzhuang gymnasium here.
Calvin Abueva had just snared a big rebound and was dashing downcourt when the burly Jordan Mills gave him a body check for a foul. Nothing wrong there, a contact was truly made.
That was during the height of a rally for the Filipinos, who forced the Kiwis to call for time. And when play resumed with the Saints already in penalty with still 4:20 left in the fourth, the referee who called the same foul said that it was Castro who was supposed to take the two free throws.
The switcheroo is considered as one of the oldest tricks in the playbook, which the Wellington players on the floor at that time tried to point out to the same referee.
Brian Davis, the Saints’ 6-foot-11 center, even refused to move away from the stripe so that the ball couldn’t be given to Castro for the first of his two free throws.
The fleet-footed Castro made the two charities and went on to score 11 of the Filipinos’ final 13 points in the fourth, including the overtime-forging left-handed layup with 19.2 ticks to go. The Filipinos won in OT, 92-88.
“Nagulat nga ako nung sinabi ng referee na ako titira, eh,” Castro, who finished with 22 points, said. “Paminsan-minsan may swerte ka na makukuha na ganun. Pero bihirang-bihira po iyon.
“Nakatulong sa akin yun, kasi naka-seven straight points ako nun, nagkaroon na ako kumpiyansa.”
(I was surprised when the referee told me I was the one who’s going to take the shot. Sometimes you get lucky to get chances like that, but it’s vert rare. It helped me, because I scored seven straight points. I got confidence.)