DEBATE. Jun Manzo said that he should not have been called for a foul in that decisive possession of the game.
The University of the Philippines had a 12-point lead in the third quarter against Ateneo de Manila University on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Fighting Maroons were unable to sustain their hot shooting, however, and saw the Blue Eagles battle back and then build up a 79-68 advantage inside the last six minutes.
Still, State U kept fighting and went on an 11-0 run to tie the tally at 79-all with 4:19 remaining.
In the ensuing possession, Jolo Mendoza was pressured in the backcourt but was able to get a foul from Jun Manzo.
For Manzo, that should not have been a foul. “Ang labo (nung tawag) kasi siyempre, nawala na yug bola sa kanya so ni-dive ko. Feeling ko bad call talaga dahil eight seconds na rin,” he told reporters post-game, after UP lost to Ateneo, 96-82.
Indeed, replays showed that Mendoza was in the backcourt for nine seconds and could have also been called for an eight-second violation.
Instead, as the Fighting Maroons were already in the penalty, Mendoza was granted two free throws and made both. From there, both the lead and the momentum stayed with the Blue Eagles.
Looking back at what happened, Manzo said that was, most likely, the most crucial call in the contest. “Kung sa amin yung bola, siguro mag-iiba yung laro. Nung nakuha nila yung bola, naka-shoot sila e kaya tuloy-tuloy yung momentum nila,” he said.
The State U point guard, however, was quick to point out that he respected the referees’ decision. As he put it, “Wala tayong magagawa kasi ganun yung tawag e. Breaks of the game e.”
For his part, head coach Bo Perasol also said that not one call decides a game. “Sobrang crucial yun, but it happens. You cannot delve into that,” he said.
He then continued, “It’s something they decided on and they can’t reverse that. We have to find a way to play through that.”
Perasol also added, however, that there is much room for improvement when it comes to officiating. “Then again, I’m hoping the officials will do a better job kasi nage-exert kami ng effort to find a way to win,” he expressed.
In the end, UP only acknowledged that it was them who failed to close out the win. “Parang yun talaga yung sakit namin e, pag sa dulo na, bumibitaw kami. Kailangan naming makabawi dun,” Manzo said.
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