The surprise twist in the Final Four is La Salle’s emergence as a semifinalist at FEU’s expense. The Tamaraws started the season like a barn on fire, disposing of UST, 73-72, La Salle, 48-46, Adamson, 65-62, and UE, 92-66. But three straight losses to end the eliminations ended FEU’s bid for another Final Four ticket. Missing the playoff bus is unusual for the Tams who went to the Finals the last two seasons. They would’ve made it if only the UAAP Board didn’t intervene and overturn commissioner Ato Badolato’s ruling that upheld FEU’s buzzer-beating victory over NU in the second round. The Board decision was widely lambasted in media because it smacked of partiality and undermined Badolato’s authority as an independent commissioner. Before the playoff against La Salle, FEU team owner Anton Montinola shook his head in dismay, saying, “We shouldn’t even be here.” He was right. But in the UAAP where even game-related issues may be elevated to the Board for adjudication, things may be decided for the wrong reasons.
Tigers hold off Bulldogs, earn Finals berth
by Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 09/29/2012 2:26 PM | Updated as of 09/29/2012
MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - University of Sto. Tomas (UST) head coach Pido Jarencio called it "destiny." The Tigers, who flew under the radar at the start of the season, are going back to the UAAP Finals after holding off a last-quarter charge by the National University (NU) Bulldogs, 63-57, in their Season 75 Final Four match-up Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum
The King Tamaraw’s swan song?
CARLO PAMINTUAN, GMA News October 2, 2012 5:05pm
The FEU defeat to La Salle in a KO game for the fourth seed now leaves RR Garcia's future's in doubt,
When he was declared the UAAP MVP in his sophomore year, the sky was seen to be the limit for Ryan Roose Garcia. And why not? He had an immaculate jumper that seemed to always find the bottom of the net. He had the ability to drive to the basket and score over defenders much taller than he was. He showed tremendous court vision when he found his teammates for wide open shots.
The only thought that ran through the minds of the opposing teams and their fans was that if Garcia was this good, this early in his career, no one was going to be able to stop him when he reached his fourth or fifth playing year.
However, a lot has changed from those days. The misses and frustrations mounted as fast as tattoos popped up all over his formerly squeaky clean image. Garcia recently played out his fourth year of eligibility and he failed to make it to the UAAP’s Final Four for the first time in his career.
After losing to the DLSU Green Archers in the playoff for the last Final Four slot, RR raised his hand to sing their school hymn. He was just under the basket, with a towel covering most of his face. After the song ended, he quickly turned around and walked away from the court, disappearing from the crowd as fast as possible.
The dugout of both teams were in close proximity with each other, a harmless coincidence in regular games. A cruel jape in this win or go home match. The shouts of "Animo La Salle" pierced the concrete walls, penetrating FEU’s space, reminding them of a game they’d rather forget.
The game started rather oddly. Mike Tolomia and Terrence Romeo comprised the starting backcourt for FEU. The former UAAP MVP sat on the bench. With six minutes left in the first quarter, head coach Bert Flores called for Garcia. But as this happened, Romeo sank his first three-point shot of the game. Flores quickly recalled Garcia from the scorer’s table and the frustrated player walked back to their bench.
The Tamaraws were up by ten points in the fourth quarter, which quickly turned into a seven-point deficit thanks to a blistering Green Archer barrage. But the Tamaraws had one last run left in them. Romeo sank a triple, off a Garcia assist, to cut the lead to four points. The Archers then botched an inbound play that allowed Garcia to sink a three of his own from the corner.
With the clock trickling down, FEU had a legitimate chance to tie the game or even take the lead with a three. But all they came up with was a broken play resulting in a turnover. Garcia did not even touch the ball in that possession.
After Almond Vosotros missed his first throw, Garcia approached Russel Escoto. A little over two seconds were left on the clock and the Tamaraws had no timeouts left. Garcia motioned that he was going to park near half court to try and get in a good shot. Instead, Escoto passed the ball to Romeo who was about 90 feet away from the basket.
RR Garcia's scoring average dropped from 16.4 points per game in Season 74 to 11.6 this season. KC Cruz
FEU’s dugout was dominated by the smell of rubbing alcohol and men’s perfume. A group of girls waited outside to see a last glimpse of their favorite Tamaraws for the season. Slowly, the members of the eliminated team trickled out of their locker room led by their coach who went straight to the media area.
Garcia was one of the last to go out. "Anong plano mo next year?" I asked him. "Di ko pa alam," he answered. This is what losing does. It leaves things undefined. If his Tamaraws had won this game, his plan would have been definite. Rest tonight. Train tomorrow. Prepare for Ateneo next Saturday. But now that they lost, now they aren’t going to have a shot at revenge against Ateneo, Garcia does not know what to do.
“RR, walang iwanan ha?” a fan pleaded. Even their fans know that the departure of their King Tamaraw is a legitimate possibility. They can only plead and hope that Garcia stays to play one more year.
Right at that moment, Garcia did not know what was left to do. This team isn’t his anymore. It hadn't been his for the entire season. It belonged to Terrence Romeo, the guy who won the Rookie of the Year honors when Garcia was named MVP in Season 73. It’s Romeo who took the most shots, it’s Romeo who’s a member of the UAAP’s Mythical Five. And by the looks of it, that wasn't going to change.
There was one shot that was supposed to be the Garcia's moment, that game-winning lay-up against the National University Bulldogs that was supposed to catapult them to the Final Four. It was unceremoniously taken away from him by the UAAP Board.
There’s no doubt that if he applies for the 2013 PBA Draft, he will be drafted in the first round. And at this point, Garcia needs to weigh his options. It would be tremendous for FEU and their legions of fans if Garcia decides to play out his last year. But if he decides to leave, can anyone really blame him? - AMD, GMA News
Batting for permanent UAAP commissioner
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin Henson The Philippine Star Updated October 04, 2012 12:00 AM
With the mess that marred the UAAP senior men’s basketball tournament this season, it has become almost a necessity to hire a permanent commissioner authorized to rule on game-related issues not subject to appeal to the Board of Trustees.
Long-time Ateneo supporter Arben Santos recently voiced the opinion that now more than ever, the UAAP should sign up a commissioner on a permanent basis or at least on a three-year contract to guarantee some continuity. But Santos said the commissioner must be armed to rule with authority on game-related matters such as protests or suspension of players or referees for cause.
“When Ateneo hosted the UAAP last year, we didn’t encounter problems that we did this season,” noted Santos. “We picked a La Salle alumnus Andy Jao as the commissioner. At first, there was a howl from the Ateneo community because of Andy’s ties with La Salle. But we believed in Andy’s impartiality and basketball knowledge. He came with a proactive mindset. He didn’t wait for things to explode. He knew which players had to be watched and warned the referees to be on their toes. It won’t work if we just react. By then, it’s too late to tone down emotions.”
Santos said the practice of bringing up game-related issues to the UAAP Board for adjudication must be stopped. The UAAP Board is made up of representatives of member schools, mainly academicians with no basketball background. The exceptions with basketball knowledge are few. As basketball is not within the scope of competence or understanding of the majority of the Board members, a game-related issue brought to their attention would be naturally resolved without technical basis. A prime example was the order replaying the recent NU-FEU game, overruling Commissioner Ato Badolato’s call. The technical committee, made up of representatives from selected schools, desisted from making its own decision on NU’s appeal, citing conflict of interest, and threw the matter to the Board for adjudication.
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The Board went against the norm by ordering a replay as it couldn’t decide if FEU guard R. R. Garcia’s layup came on time because the video wasn’t conclusive. The usual interpretation is if there is no certainty on a buzzer-beating shot, the referees’ call will stand. The Board’s order to replay the game on the basis of unclear evidence was a display of ignorance of basketball proceedings or a political compromise to assuage the host school.
It wasn’t the first time that the UAAP Board went “overboard.” The ruling wasn’t unprecedented precisely because there is a provision in the conduct of competitions allowing appeals of any kind to be elevated to the Board. Imagine the chaos if even a goaltending call may be protested to the Board. And in fact, UST protested its loss to Ateneo on the basis of a perceived referee’s error in a goaltending call and the failure to slap a technical foul on coach Norman Black for entering the court. Badolato rejected the protest to uphold the referees’ judgment calls on both counts but UST threatened to elevate it all the way to the Board. The protest, however, became moot and academic because both Ateneo and UST made it to the finals with a twice-to-beat advantage.
Santos, a shipping magnate who has maintained an office in Tokyo for over 40 years, is well-known in basketball circles as the “godfather” of Ateneo teams. When Smart Gilas played at the FIBA Asia Cup in Tokyo recently, Santos went out of his way to attend to Ateneo stars L. A. Tenorio, Enrico Villanueva and Larry Fonacier. He also advises Ateneo players on their PBA careers because he cares for their future. Santos’ love for the game is as legendary as his passion for his school.
Before the UAAP playoffs got underway, Santos suggested employing PBA referees to work the Final 4 games. The PBA actually loaned three referees to the UAAP during the season – Francisco Olivar, 25, Reynaldo Yante, 26, and Emmanuel Tangkion, 28, all C-2 rated. But when the PBA season opened, they were recalled back to the pro league. FEU team owner Anton Montinola went beyond Santos’ suggestion and even wondered if foreign referees could be used. Obviously, there is a cloud of doubt on the capability of UAAP referees. The other day, UST coach Pido Jarencio and Ateneo team manager Paolo Trillo declared on the record that all they’re asking for is a fair shake from the referees in the coming finals.
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The credibility of the referees is, in large part, determined by the integrity of the commissioner and his technical committee. If the commissioner is empowered by the Board to be the final judge of game-related issues, he will wield the authority to put his referees in line. Without the authority, the commissioner is a lameduck and a Board puppet.
The scuttlebutt was when the Board overruled Badolato’s decision to uphold the FEU win over NU, he was ready to resign as a matter of principle. But resigning would’ve been the easy way out.
If he left the UAAP high and dry in the middle of the season, the situation would’ve been extremely volatile, leaving the member schools in a state of suspended animation. It would’ve led to mass confusion. So Badolato made the supreme sacrifice of staying on the job, earning in the process the respect of independent basketball minds. If candidates are to be lined up in choosing a permanent UAAP commissioner, Badolato should be at the top of the list.
Santos said a permanent commissioner will mean a hefty investment particularly as he will be given the mandate to form his own staff, technical committee and a pool of competent referees. But providing a suitable budget shouldn’t be a problem, said Santos. “The idea is to upgrade the level of officiating in the UAAP with an empowered commissioner,” he said. “We should determine a budget for this purpose then fund it with endowments from patrons of different schools. I’m sure we’ll find sponsors for this if we properly explain what the objective is.”
A permanent commissioner shouldn’t just be for the UAAP but also for the NCAA. Both collegiate leagues command a large following and their Boards must own up to the responsibility of maintaining a high level of officiating with an empowered commissioner as a commitment to the member schools.