MANILA, Philippines – Chris Ross was left looking for answers following a controversial play that marred the San Miguel Beermen's 96-100 loss to Barangay Ginebra on Sunday, January 28.
The Beermen were trailing 95-98 with 24 seconds remaining but Arwind Santos missed two straight 3-point attempts that would have tied the game. Fortunately, Chico Lanete was fouled on the shooting motion by Sol Mercado and had the chance to bring San Miguel within a point.
But things took a different turn from there as Ross, who was standing beyond the 3-point line, was offered the ball by referee Noy Guevarra and he then shot a free throw instead of Lanete.
Ross missed the freebie and afterwards was called for a technical foul by the referees for delaying the game. LA Tenorio then converted the technical freebie to make it a two-possession game, 99-95.
Lanete then deliberately split his free throws but the Beermen failed to secure the rebound as the Gin Kings ended their 3-game skid and halted San Miguel's 5-game winning streak.
Ross, who saw his 16-point, 7-rebound, 6-assist, and 4-steal outing go down the drain, admitted that he also got confused with how things turned out in the endgame.
"I stayed in my spot I was in the whole time, and I wasn't nowhere close to the play, and the ref walks up to me and hands me the ball, and the announcer says, 'Chris Ross at the free throw line,' so I shot the ball. I mean, what else am I supposed to do? And then I asked for an explanation, no explanation," said Ross.
The Filipino-American also said he should have been thrown out of the game since it was his second technical foul. Ross was assessed his first technical foul in the second quarter due to continuous complaining.
"I don't know why I wasn't ejected. I don't know. Y'all's guess is just as good as mine. I don't know what happened. I just went with the flow," he said.
Ross added that he knew Lanete was supposed to take the free throws but did not know how to respond when the referees gave him the ball.
"It's obviously the ref's fault, all 3 of them, because they didn't intervene and they put the blame on me by giving me a technical. So I mean, that's the only explanation I can give, I don't know about you guys but my fair assessment of the play was, they tried to cover it up by giving me the technical, and all I did was do what they told me to do," Ross said.
"So I don't know, if I do something different, do I get a tech? Or do I do what they tell me to do and I still get a tech? I mean, I don't know, it was bizarre, to say the least."
PBA deputy director for basketball operations Eric Castro admitted that the referees made a mistake but stood by the decision to give Ross the technical foul.
"To be honest, mayroon din kami sigurong fault noon doon sa referees namin. I won't deny it. But again, the players know, alam nila kung sino shooter talaga," said Castro.
(To be honest, we were probably at fault with our referees. I won't deny it. But again, the players know who the real shooter is.)
Castro explained that league rules state that "if the free throw has been attempted by the wrong shooter the player shall be assessed an unsportsmanlike technical foul."
He added that they will discuss whether the referees would be sanctioned.
Ross and the Beermen will try to get back to their winning ways when they face the Magnolia Hotshots on Sunday, February 4, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.