ANGELES CITY–PBA commissioner Willie Marcial has relieved referee Sherwin Pineda of his duties following the “wrong call” he made in the crucial stretch of Rain or Shine’s 70-68 win over NorthPort on Sunday.
Pineda called a foul against Paolo Taha that led to Rey Nambatac’s game-winning free throws with 1.3 seconds left at the Smart 5G-powered Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
The Elasto Painters remained perfect in three games while sending the Batang Pier to their third consecutive defeat in the Philippine Cup.
“Papauwiin ko na. Tinitignan ko na lang kung papaano. Mali ‘yung tawag eh,” said Marcial after disclosing in a TV interview that he would hand down heavy, undisclosed sanction on Pineda.
Deputy commissioner and operations manager Eric Castro and technical committee head Bong Pascual backed Marcial’s decision.
“It was a wrong call. Period,” said Castro.
With Pineda out for the meantime, the number of referees is down to 15. But Marcial said he will be replaced by a reserve referee who will undergo strict health requirements before getting inside the bubble.
Marcial added that two other referees were suspended for questionable calls they made during the first week of games.
Meanwhile, NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio, who vented his frustrations after the errant call, was hands-off on Marcial’s sanction on Pineda.
“For me, ang game is not decided by the referees. Alam naman natin ‘yun eh,” said Jarencio. “Kung anuman ‘yung naging decision ni commissioner sa kanya, wala na ‘ko dun.”