Willie Marcial confirms suspension of erring referee

Published November 27, 2020, 5:17 PM

by Jeremiah Sevilla

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–The PBA has suspended the erring referee who missed the crucial foul by Meralco’s John Pinto on Ginebra’s LA Tenorio in Game 4 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals last Wednesday. 

“Hindi ko muna pinatakbo ngayon. Titignan pa namin kung kailan papabalikin,” commissioner Willie Marcial told the Manila Bulletin in a phone interview on Friday. 

With the Kings holding on to a slim 80-79 lead and the Bolts under penalty situation with 21.7 seconds left, Pinto tugged Tenorio’s jersey–an obvious foul–to prevent him from receiving Scottie Thompson’s inbound pass. 

Tenorio eventually got the ball but fell on the floor against a double team and was called for an out of bounds violation, leading to Reynel Hugnatan’s dagger jumper for an 81-80 buffer before Meralco went on to win 83-80 and force the deciding Game 5 at press time.  

PBA deputy commissioner Eric Castro on Thursday admitted that one of the referees indeed failed to blow the whistle. 

“The center referee missed it. He was not in the right position to see the pulling of the jersey. We have reprimanded the ref already,” said Castro, also the league operations and technical director. 

A few moments after the game, Tenorio posted via Instagram story a screenshot with a face palm emoticon of the viral video showing Pinto pulling his jersey. 

The 36-year-old guard later clarified that he was not taking a shot against officiating. 

Marcial said there’s no reason to reprimand Tenorio for going out in public. 

“Kita naman lahat ng tao. Inamin naman nating mali ‘yung referee. Bakit ko paparusahan si LA? Wala naman ginawang masama ‘yung player.” 

The PBA chief added that they already talked with the referees and reminded them about proper positioning on the court for better view and judgment especially in the crucial stretch of bubble season.