MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) The protest filed by the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers regarding their controversial loss to the Ateneo Blue Eagles has been turned down, according to UAAP Commissioner Ato Badolato.
"The protest was turned down because it was based on judgment calls," Badolato told ABS-CBNnews.com.
The Tigers lost to the Eagles, 66-68, on Saturday, allowing Ateneo to clinch the No. 1 seed and a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
But the Tigers put the game under protest, citing two questionable decisions in the crucial final seconds of the game.
UST head coach Pido Jarencio said the referees should have called a technical foul on Ateneo head coach Norman Black after he confronted the referees with seven seconds to go in the ball game.
"Hindi tinawagan ng technical si Norman Black, he was crossing the line. Hindi pwede 'yun. Once nag-cross ka, technical na dapat," Jarencio said in an interview with ABS-CBNnews.com Sunday.
"Game changer sana 'yun kung binigyan siya ng technical," Jarencio added.
The Tigers also protested a goal-tending call against their star center Karim Abdul in the final five seconds, which allowed Ateneo to take the lead for good.
But Badolato said the protest has been turned down as both decisions were judgment calls.
"Hindi pwedeng baguhin ang mga judgment call," Badolato said.
Jarencio was incensed over the decision and wondered if the officials were scared of Black.
"Hindi ko na alam kung bakit nila tinurn down," he said. "Ang main question ko ay 'yung technicality."
"Is that fair, na matalo ka sa technical na bagay?... Masyadong obvious 'yung ginawa sa kanila na hindi tinawagan ng technical. Bakit? Takot ba sila kay Norman Black?"
Jarencio pointed out that according to UAAP rules, a coach will be assessed a technical foul if he crosses the line and enters the playing court.
"Bakit hindi na-technical si Norman Black? It's a commissioner's rule, it's a UAAP rule. Once you cross the line, you get a technical," Jarencio added, adding that Black had already been warned by the referees earlier in the game.
Jarencio said he understands that the goal-tending violation called against Abdul was a judgment call.
"Judgment call 'yung goal-tending, but 'yung coach na nag-cross ng line, it's technical," he said.
Jarencio cited an earlier game against the National University (NU) Bulldogs where he was given a technical foul for going into the court and arguing with NU’s Emmanuel Mbe.
"Bakit ako, nakipag-argue ako sa isang player, na-technical agad ako? Wala pa akong warning doon," he said.
The loss to Ateneo was a big blow to the Tigers, who are aiming for a twice-to-beat incentive in the Final Four. With their loss, they dropped to a share of second and third places with the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.
UST will play their final game of the elimination round on Thursday against the University of the East Red Warriors.
"Wala naman kaming problema, ready naman ang team namin," Jarencio said.