Rebo Saguisag. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net
The UAAP has concluded its judicious review and found no referee bias in the controversial Final Four game between La Salle and Adamson last November 18.
“We conclude that while there were errors in officiating, the evidence at hand is insufficient to prove bias or partiality,” wrote UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag in a letter released on Tuesday.
There was glaring discrepancy between the number of fouls by both teams. Adamson was whistled for 33 fouls as compared to La Salle’s 12 that resulted to a huge free throw disparity. The Green Archers went to the line 39 times while the Falcons only had five attempts.
But Saguisag said that the numbers don’t show everything as he found no controversy with how the game was handled upon review.
“The stat sheets show that 33 fouls were called against Adamson and 12 were called against La Salle. While the disparity in statistics tend to suggest biased officiating, 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,” the statement read.
Just like any other game, Saguisag resigned to the fact that errors, bad calls and non-calls, will always be a part of the game for the referees, and the said game wasn’t an exception.
“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,” he said. “We do understand the frustration of the players, coaches, supporters, and the viewing public in general when the right call is not made. Teams train hard and lay everything on the floor to compete.”
Saguisag assured everyone that the league office is as impartial as ever as he vows fairness in every game played in the UAAP.
“The office of the commissioner will never tolerate or condone any conduct, act, or omission that would compromise the integrity of the sport,” he said. “However, bias or partiality on the part of the officials cannot be presumed. Partiality is related to intention which is a mental process, an internal state of mind, that must be judged by the person’s overt acts.
“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. To hold otherwise would be to render refereeing untenable, for no one called upon to officiate a sport, where you only have a brief moment to decide (without the benefit of a replay), can be infallible in their judgment.”
Saguisag also said referees Enan Alejo, Ian Borbe, and Mollie de Luna, will remain out of the officials pool for Game 2 of the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball Finals, as well as in the ongoing juniors tournament.
“We recognize the importance of having officials who must be able to perform at the highest levels. We also acknowledge the need to maintain public confidence in the league. 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,” he said.
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