MANILA, Philippines – UAAP Commissioner Rebo Saguisag called for "sportsmanship and positive participatory experience" in a letter he released on Wednesday, November 29, just before the tip-off of the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball finals game 2.
This letter was addressed to everyone involved in the game, including game officials, coaches, team personnel, student-athletes, spectators and the board of athletic directors from the UAAP schools.
Saguisag told game officials to "react swiftly" and the coaches of each team "to get directly involved" with any misconduct or unethical behavior that will happen during the upcoming game.
To the team management – including the utility, physiotherapists, consultants and other team bench personnel – the UAAP commisioner asks them to step back from addressing the referees and leave the coaches to do their duty.
Saguisag said to the student-athletes to "get your act together, clean up the game, and just play ball." He reminds them that as players, they are the "exceptional representatives of their team and their institutions;" therefore, they are committed to behaving properly when it is game time.
According to a report by ABSCBN Sports, these reminders were given in response to the misconduct of 3 De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers – Aljun Melecio, Ricci Rivero and Abu Tratter– during their first finals game against the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Videos of the incidents reported here by Tiebreaker Times were reviewed by Saguisag and he wil meet with them before the start of the game Wednesday.
Saguisag also reminded spectators to "cheer for their student-athletes" but only to an extent that is still "befitting of your prestigious institutions" and the Board of Managing Directors, Athletic Directors to hold all coaches and student-athletes "accountable for their conduct" during the game.
After conducting a review of the match, Saguisag said there was insufficient evidence to prove there was partiality on the part of the referees.
"This office cannot infer bias or partiality on the basis of errors in judgment. These must be proved with clear and convincing evidence – which, upon meticulous review of the game, are absent in the case."
Saguisag also tackled the issue of biased officiating based on the the disparity in free throws, where 33 fouls were called against Adamson and 12 were called against La Salle. The UAAP Commissioner argues that La Salle was more focused on its "inside game and lane incursions," while Adamson was "more predisposed in its perimeter game."
"It is imperative to focus on whether or not the non-calls were actually incorrect since the disparity in non-calls could be an indication of how the teams played, i.e., one team was more focused on its inside game and lane incursions, while the other team was more predisposed in its perimeter game, among other factors,” said Saguisag in the statement.
Saguisag added that a thorough review of the match also resulted to the identification of a number of incorrect non-calls on both teams.
"After a thorough review, it appears that there were a number of incorrect non-calls. Particularly, there were 10 incorrect non-calls on fouls committed by La Salle. However, there were seven incorrect non-calls on fouls committed by Adamson as well."
Saguisag also reminded the public that the Office of the Commissioner "does not condone any conduct, act, or omission that would compromise the integrity of the sport," leading to the continued suspension of referees the involved in the November 18 game, Enan Alejo, Ian Borbe, and Mollie de Luna.
"Further to their preventive suspension (provisional in nature and not based on a finding of guilt), the officials concerned have been heavily reprimanded with a warning of stiffer penalties should evidence of bad faith or malice surface even after this review. They also remain excluded from the pool of referees for the finals series to remove any cloud of doubt in the Finals."
The Ateneo Blue Eagles and DLSU Green Archers continue their best-of-three UAAP Season 80 men's basketball finals series on with game 2 Wednesday, November 29, 4 pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.