Reavis urges league to look at ‘lopsidedness,’ says Magnolia drew ‘short end’ of stick
MANILA, Philippines–Magnolia’s grizzled big man Rafi Reavis didn’t mince words when he was asked about a culmination to a long battle that he felt should have been a “player’s game.”
“It’s supposed to be!” he said. “That’s what we thought if they’d just let us play. But obviously, that wasn’t the case.”
“[The game] went down the wire; it was anybody’s ball game but we all know who got the short end of the stick,” he added, alluding to Game 7’s officiating.
“I’d rather lose 4-0 than to lose this way. But hey, there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re players, we leave all that other stuff up to whoever takes charge of how the games are called.”
The Hotshots led by as many as 17 points in a Game 7 many deemed improbable if only because Magnolia’s lineup pales in comparison to the Beermen’s lavish roster.
Debates will rage on even after the celebrations die down. Did June Mar Fajardo commit an offensive foul on Marc Barroca after a crucial Magnolia error? More importantly, was Jio Jalalon fouled when he missed an easy undergoal stab? Magnolia coach Chito Victolero said his prized guard feels he was hit on the play.
Reavis, the 17-year veteran, also pointed out how Fajardo emerged from the physical encounter with no foul slapped on him.
“Hats off to San Miguel, I don’t take anything from them, but I just think hopefully the league really looks into what happened tonight. There was a lot of lopsidedness,” he said.
“I don’t know how June Mar plays the whole game and has zero fouls when it’s clear he does foul. There’s no player that plays a perfect game and they don’t foul. I just don’t understand why he doesn’t get fouls called on him. I think it’s not fair,” said Reavis, owner of 11 PBA championships.
“I think the obvious that needs to be looked at and needs to be dealt with it because it’s happening too much and it’s too obvious. Something needs to be done about that,” he added.
His officiating rant even went beyond the calls. He also called out referees’ reactions to a wrong whistle.
“And every time we ask about certain things going on on the court, all we get is ‘sorry’ or ‘my fault.’ But ‘my fault’ doesn’t help us. The damage is done, so sorry doesn’t help. Hopefully, something can be done about that and they can get better at doing their jobs,” Reavis added.
“I think that it’s frustrating for us as athletes to put that much work in for it to be taken away from us and then being told sorry afterward because it’s taken away. That’s the frustrating part.”
This wasn’t the first time Reavis touched on foul calls in the series. In a previous interview with a few reporters in Game 6, the Filipino-American also hinted on referees giving Fajardo a lot of leeway down low.
“I’m trying to learn from June Mar. I don’t know how he could survive the whole game and only get one foul. I guess I just have to watch the tapes and see what he’s doing and do whatever he’s doing to not get any fouls,” he said last Sunday.
Fajardo had zero fouls in Game 7. Magnolia, on the other hand, was called for a total of 22, 12 drawn by the five-time Most Valuable Player.
Reavis, after committing five fouls in Game 6, fouled out in Game 7.
“It’s hard because I think he gets away with everything. He’s allowed to push us and we can’t touch him,” Reavis said of defending Fajardo. “You can’t touch him, it’s obvious. But he’s allowed to elbow us and grab us and do all these things and I just think it’s not fair.”
“[The players] put so much work in, we expect better than that from our officials. This is Game 7; this is the Finals. This is supposed to be the best of the best,” he said.
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