Tuesday, September 16, 2014

UAAP 77: FEU protests their costly defeat to Ateneo

Far Eastern University (FEU) has put under protest its costly loss to the Ateneo Blue Eagles in their second-round game of the UAAP Season 77 men's basketball tournament last September 13.

The Tamaraws lost to the Blue Eagles, 64-68, in overtime, allowing Ateneo to seal the top spot and earn a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four, while sending FEU into a virtual best-of-three series against defending champion De La Salle University.

In a letter to UAAP Commissioner Andy Jao on Monday, FEU head coach Nash Racela protested Ateneo's "challenge" on a shot by Blue Eagle guard Von Pessumal with 27 seconds left in the game.

Pessumal had made a shot with 3:20 left in the fourth quarter, which was originally ruled a two. That brought the score to 57-49, still in favor of the Tamaraws. With 27 seconds to go, FEU guard Mike Tolomia was sent to the line with the Tams leading 58-56.

Before Tolomia could take his free throws, however, the coliseum barker announced that Ateneo had challenged the call on Pessumal's shot, and it was now a three-pointer instead of a two-pointer. The score was adjusted to 58-57.

Dead ball opportunities.
In his letter, Racela cited Rule 4 of the UAAP's video replay ground rules for basketball, which states that "Determining whether a shot is a 2 or 3 points will be allowed by reviewing the tapes at the first dead ball opportunity, timeout, and before the end of the period concerned, as the case may be."

Racela pointed out that there were four deadball opportunities after Pessumal made the basket and prior to Tolomia's free throws.

"Reviewing a play that happened THREE MINUTES BEFORE IS NOT ALLOWED as per UAAP rules," Racela firmly stated. "Reviewing a two or three pointer SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE on the FIRST DEAD BALL OPPORTUNITY."

"Why was the decision to review done AFTER four dead ball opportunities?" Racela questioned. "The only time the officials were allowed to review was in the first dead ball opportunity."

The first dead ball opportunity following the Pessumal field goal occurred at the 2:07 mark of the fourth period, when Ateneo's G-Boy Babilonia fouled FEU center Anthony Hargrove, with the Tams leading 57-51.

"The game should have been stopped at this point for the video replay review," Racela said in his letter.

"As a long time basketball analyst, I am sure you will agree that there is a big difference from adding one point for ADMU at FEU 57 – ADMU 51 with 2:07 left in the game, rather than at FEU 58 – ADMU 56 with 27 seconds left in the game," the coach added.

Replays unclear.
Racela also requested that they be "furnished with the video used by the technical team in determining the reversal of the shot from a 2 to a 3 pointer."

The video replays shown during game time did not clearly show if Pessumal's field goal had been a three-pointer or a long two-pointer.

"RULE 5 of the UAAP's video replay ground rules for basketball say that 'in the event that the video monitor does not show clearly whether the shot is 2 or 3, the referee's decision when the shot was made will stay,'" Racela cited.

Noting that "a protest is valid when it is based on a technicality which affected the outcome of the game," Racela stressed that they were protesting a "misapplication" of the UAAP rules, which he states is "clearly a technicality."

"The FEU Community has expressed its disappointment regarding the inappropriate violation of specific UAAP ground rules," Racela said, adding they are hoping for a speedy and fair resolution to their protest.

Commissioner Jao has already received a copy of FEU's letter and is studying the protest. A decision will be made shortly.

Costly defeat.
After Ateneo's challenge, Tolomia would make his first free throw but miss the second, giving his team a 59-57 lead. Ateneo guard Kiefer Ravena then tied the game at the free throw line after being fouled by FEU's Roger Pogoy with 20.3 seconds left.

FEU, however, still had a chance to win the game with 2.8 seconds to go, when Ravena fouled Tolomia while Ateneo was in penalty situation.

Shockingly, Tolomia missed both charities, and the game went into overtime. The Blue Eagles, who scored 33 points in the fourth period, carried over their momentum in the extra period and went on to win the game.

Racela, in an interview after the game, admitted that they "shot themselves in the foot" by missing 11 of their 14 free throw attempts in the final period.


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