So you know, if we get into a situation in a huge environment like that, referees choose to put quality players on the bench with very, very soft calls, thats what they get. They get a game of lesser quality than what the fans should get or what the TV audience should get — Ateneo coach Tab Baldwin
Ateneo de Manila University coach Tab Baldwin felt that game officials ‘robbed’ fans of a quality match.
He was disappointed especially with the calls that forced him to put a rein on some of his key players after getting into foul trouble in the Blue Eagles’ 76-79 loss to defending champion De La Salle University to close the elimination round of the 80th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Big Dome Sunday.
Baldwin’s big men Isaac Go and Chibuze Ikeh both had four fouls while Vince Tolentino fouled out with 2:05 left in the fourth during the Green Archers’ 10-0 closing rally.
“The lineups that we had to put out there were different lineups that we played through most of the season, and they weren’t as effective and as efficient and they’re never going to be,” said Baldwin.
“So you know, if we get into a situation in a huge environment like that, referees choose to put quality players on the bench with very, very soft calls, that’s what they get,” he added. “They get a game of lesser quality than what the fans should get or what the TV audience should get.”
“Fans in the audience should’ve seen Ikeh and George (Go) out on the floor more than they did today, and I think that’s a shame that they weren’t.”
Baldwin, who saw Ateneo’s 13-game winning streak snapped with a fourth quarter meltdown despite holding a 76-69 lead, also jabbed at the amount of free throws given to DLSU.
The Katipunan-based squad was slapped with 27 fouls, the Green Archers had 22. DLSU went into the foul line 29 times and sank 20 including Ricci Rivero’s last two charities that gave the Green Archers a three-point lead with just 8.9 seconds left.
Ateneo went to the stripe 19 times and drained 13.
“We had terrible foul trouble, we tried to manage the team through the foul trouble in our frontline,” said Baldwin. “It seems it happens every time we play La Salle, it seems every time is a critical situation. A lot of free throw for the green guys and not so many for us so I don’t like that.
“But we have to figure out how we can do a better job and avoid that,” he added. “But the fourth quarter, you know, they owned it. That’s a big disappointment for us. That’s been a quarter we’ve done well in this year. So you know, congratulations to them and now it’s on to the semis.”
The twice-to-beat Ateneo will take on Far Eastern University in the Final Four on Sunday.
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