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Narvasa appeals to fans and players as he addresses officiating

MANILA, Philippines -- With referees again under the microscope in the ongoing Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup semifinals, league commissioner Chito Narvasa appealed to coaches, players and fans alike for patience as they draw up a detailed plan to improve officiating this season.

In a talk with PBA media men before the start of Game 2 of the semifinal series between Alaska and GlobalPort on Wednesday, Narvasa admitted that officiating is wanting in his first conference as commissioner.

“We want the public to understand that we are doing something (with officiating). Yes, there is a problem, but it’s not grave. And it’s something we have to address and that it has to be done on a continuing and regular basis,” said Narvasa, who earlier in the day, slapped separate P20,000 fines on Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao and big man Beau Belga for being involved in a commotion during the ROS-San Miguel semifinal opener.

Narvasa said he is still in a getting-to-know-you stage with the 14-man pool of referees, having just succeeded Chito Salud late last year.

But the former coach-turned-PBA commissioner believes all is not lost for officiating, especially as his Office begins instituting some changes among the referees.

“Meron tayong referees’ stats na containing all the calls made, sinong mga referees, anong time, so lahat ng tinawag sa laro,” explained PBA deputy commissioner Rickie Santos, who currently works side by side with Narvasa in overseeing officiating.

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Santos said they will also put the spliced videos into better use by identifying the correct calls of the referees in a game, while holding regular evaluation among the referees.

Narvasa is convinced that the stats can help them address the weak spots of game officials and ensure they take a more pro-active approach from there.

“So it cannot be subjective but quantitative na. And that’s where we start. That (stats) will be our basis, and then we will beef up the video capabilities of the PBA,” said Narvasa.

Game officials have been the subject of scrutiny by PBA fans on social media following Barangay Ginebra’s controversial 83-84 overtime loss to GlobalPort in their knockout quarterfinal match last week.

Romel Gruta and Edward Aquino, two of the four referees who officiated the knockout game were eventually suspended by Narvasa for the rest of the conference due to lapses and non-calls in the most crucial part of the game at the MOA Arena.

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