They’ll probably gonna take back my Ateneo diploma after this. But hear me out first. I’ll go straight to the point: WE WUZ ROBBED LAST NIGHT. I’m talking about Game 2 of the Ateneo-La Salle basketball game. All of you saw it last night. In the middle of the third quarter when La Salle decided to show up and make it a game, one referee slapped a technical foul on Rico Maierhofer for allegedly giving the dirty finger to an Ateneo player. Now, there’s an age-old adage in basketball. You know it, I know it, the whole basketball world knows it. So, let’s say it together now: You don’t let the referees decide the outcome of a basketball game, let the players play it out.
Granted, this was not the last 2 minutes. Still, you cannot take the fact that with that dumb call, La Salle lost the game right then and there. Since this was the second technical foul that was slapped on Maierhofer, he was ejected from the game and thereby taking away the only inside presence of LaSalle against Ateneo’s behemoths. Now, let me tell you why the call made on Maierhofer was dumb.
First of all, we have to understand the context when the call was made. In basketball, one has to accept the fact that ‘stars’ do get special treatment from the refs. For example, if Michael Jordan already has 5 fouls in the third quarter of a championship game, do you think a ref would call his sixth for slapping the wrist of an opposing player? Hell no!! Outside a clear and blatant foul probably bordering on flagrant, you just don’t take a star player out of the ballgame like that. JV Casio and Rico Maierhofer are the ‘star’ players for LaSalle. At the time, Maierhofer already has a technical foul assessed to him earlier for taunting. No argument there. But the refs should have understood this when they called a 2nd technical foul on Rico. Bottom line: As a ref, you don’t call a technical foul on Rico KNOWING that he already was slapped a technical earlier ESPECIALLY when you’re not even sure that he even made the objectionable act in the first place. As I recalled it last night, the ref who made the call was at the bottom of the TV screen and was opposite from where Rico was standing and made the allegedly obscene gesture. This already makes the call suspect because I doubt it if the ref really saw what he thought he saw. In fact, succeeding replays were inconclusive if Rico did give the dirty finger. And this is my point, as a star player, Rico should have been given the benefit of the doubt on that play. Absent a CLEAR and INDISPUTABLE act showing that a foul has been committed, the ref should have just swallowed his whistle.
As a result, WE WUZ ROBBED a championship game last night. La Salle wuz robbed. Even Ateneo wuz robbed given the hollow feeling I have right now even though a championship trophy now resides at the Loyola campus. Don’t get me wrong. Ateneo is the better team and totally deserves the championship. I’m not in the habit of giving out predictions. But in an earlier post, I did say that Ateneo WILL WIN the championship. All season long Ateneo has shown that it’s the best team in the UAAP, bar none. In fact, it seemed that Ateneo was in a league of their own at times. In fact, I would even say that they could play a best of 10 what-have-you and Ateneo will sweep it. I kid you not, this year’s Ateneo team is THAT good. BUT, with that call last night, it somehow took a lot of the satisfaction from what should have been TOTAL DOMINATION of our arch-rivals. That’s what we get because the refs chose to play their game at center stage and not on the sidelines where they should be.
In the aftermath, I should say though that in boycotting the awarding ceremonies that followed, La Salle displayed poor sportsmanship. At the time, I suspected La Salle was thinking of placing the game under protest and their position may be compromised should they accept the runner-up trophy. But then again, we’re thinking of the bigger picture here. Millions were glued to their TV sets where the protagonists are educational institutions which supposedly produced the creme de la creme of Philippine society. What kind of example did it show our students and the public? I don’t know maybe age has a way of diluting my passions because for me, at the end of the day, it is just basketball.
I guess this is the reason why I just do triathlons nowadays.