UAAP: Nash Racela voices displeasure over foul disparity in loss to Ateneo
MANILA, Philippines — Adamson coach Nash Racela didn’t hold back in lamenting the officiating in the fourth quarter of their 62-58 loss to defending champion Ateneo in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“As a coach, I should be happy with the way our players competed but it’s not enough that you just compete. I think today—maybe I would agree Ateneo played great fourth quarter. But this is something that surprised me. When we were up six points at the end of the third, we got into penalty right away. It’s seven and a half minutes when we were up by six,” rued Racela after a tough loss in their crucial match.
The Soaring Falcons, who ended the third quarter with a 17-0 run anchored by Didat Hanapi and Cedrick Manzano for a 49-42 lead heading to the payoff period, got in the penalty at the 7:30 mark of the fourth quarter and didn’t have a trip from the line in the final frame.
Adamson was whistled for 11 fouls in the fourth while Ateneo only fouled twice and shot 8-of-15 from the charity stripe in the period. The Eagles ended up shooting 16-of-31 from the line.
“We got nothing. That’s the sad part. They’re taking away a lot from our players. I’d like to credit Ateneo for that game. Maybe they made great adjustments in the fourth quarter. That’s your narrative every time I see you, right, fourth quarter adjustment, adjustment,” said Racela, whose squad only shot 8-of-10 from the free throw line in the game.
“Even the last attempt of Manzano when we were down one, Obasa hit him. I know he’s not a good free throw shooter but at least give him a chance. Patirahan mo, eh kung ma-shoot niya. For some reason, he made it. Baka mag-iba yung game.”
“Kawawa ang mga bata. Dibale ako, coaches sanay na kami jan. Whatever we coach, these things happen. But give these kids a chance. Nag-aaral. Midterms nga this week eh. They have to go to school and take their exams. Study, practice with the schedule that we have. At least man lang, give them a fair chance,” he added.
Despite losing to Ateneo, Adamson is still in contention for the Final Four with a 5-7 record — just a game behind the Blue Eagles, who hold the fourth seed with a 6-6 card.
Racela hopes for fair treatment from the league ahead of their two games in the elimination round. He encourages his wards to change the narrative just like they did last season with a Final Four run.
“I know they like Ateneo to make it to the Final Four. Diba. I don’t know how many percentage, Malaki, majority diba. The UAAP probably wants them. A lot of people want them to go in. Ang sabi ko nga sa team after sa huddle, the sad reality is even before the start of the season, you are already out of the Final Four so it will take a lot, it will take more for you guys if you want to enter [the Final Four]. I like my players because they are doing their part. It’s not perfect but they’re fighting. They’re developing grit, that’s something I mentioned last time. But, every game they give themselves a chance,” he said.
“I hope the others also give them a chance because they deserve it. Nothing is given for free but they’re trying to give it to others for free. It’s not fair. So at least we have more, two more games. Hopefully, we do our part. Mathematically possible, diba. It will be as maybe harder than today. I don’t know their—whatever they want, I don’t know what they want but we’ll do our part.”
Adamson fights for its Final Four chances against second seed National University on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena before facing University of the East on Sunday at the same venue.
“It’s not, again, it will not be easy. It will be hard because si NU still wants to be twice-to-beat. They want to get that advantage, twice to beat advantage, by winning that game against us. That very small, that slim chance, should be enough motivation for our team. There’s still a chance. Life is unfair but you have a chance. You’re still standing up. You’ll keep on fighting. That’s what we preach,” Racela said.