Posted Feb 16th 2014
Leo Austria cries foul over officiating
By Paolo Mariano Posted Jul 24th 2013
The Lord giveth, the referees taketh away.
Adamson University head coach Leo Austria couldn’t hide his disappointment over the controversial unsportsmanlike foul call in the dying seconds of their game against De La Salle University, which virtually gift-wrapped the win for the Green Archers.
Adamson’s Rian Abrigo and La Salle’s Norbert Torres were jostling for position along the right wing with 13.0 seconds left on an inbound play by the Taft-based squad, which was only leading by a basket, 67-65. Referee Francisco Olivar, however, whistled Abrigo for an off-the-ball foul, which meant two free throws for Torres and ball possession to La Salle.
The burly Green Archers forward sank both free throws for a four-point cushion, which was enough to seal the 70-67 victory.
“I don’t know what triggered that call, but in that situation, let the players decide (the outcome). The game was physical from start to finish, why make the call on the last play?” said a calm yet visibly frustrated Austria.
According to the UAAP rulebook, any foul called away from the ball in the final two minutes merits an automatic unsportsmanlike foul.
“We know the rules, but the question is, was there really a foul? In fact, Torres should be the one assessed with the foul because he warded off the defender’s hand,” said Austria, whose Soaring Falcons dropped to 3-3 and are now in a four-way logjam at third place with La Salle, National University, and University of the East.
Asked on a scale of 1 to 10 how bad the officiating was, Austria rated it as a six.
“Right from the beginning, I was already complaining because the referees weren’t calling it fair. Yes, you can call them breaks of the game, but why were the breaks always in their (La Salle’s) favor?” said Austria.
Adamson clawed back from a 65-50 deficit in the last five minutes with an inspired 15-0 run to tie the count with 1:24 remaining off two free throws from Abrigo. The crucial call, however, nullified their efforts.
“We fought hard, we showed our guts, pero nauwi sa wala (but everything went for naught),” said Austria. “But I’m not blaming La Salle, they played hard, they took advantage of our bad start.”
Abrigo’s gutsy performance in the fourth period also went down the drain. He scored all of his career-high 10 points in the canto, while also grabbing three rebounds. He didn’t play in the first three quarters.
The Soaring Falcons will review the tape but they are still unsure if they will place the game under protest.