Letters to the Editor

Unsportsmanlike foul

The Philippine Star

This is about the recent UAAP basketball game between Adamson and Ateneo U. An incident during the game had an Ateneo player faking out Adamson player Joseph Nalos who was precariously suspended above the faking player’s head, and scoring a basket. I didn’t get the Ateneo player’s name, but the “flying Falcon.” Nalos by name, instinctively hung on to the faking Atenean, to avoid a bad spill, and in so doing, brought the Atenean down with him. I would say that that was to be expected!

It was at this point that the force started, along with my continuing “education” on the frustrating politics in basketball officiating and “creativity.”

What ensued was that for some strange reason, a very self-righteous Kiefer Ravena, who was not part of the fake-out mentioned above, became incensed, and went after the smaller Nalos with his barrel-chested frame, bringing Nalos to the floor.

After the comedy came the tragedy, namely the referee’s reaction. That reaction was to make a beeline for the first row of the lower box section to consult with Tournament officials or whatever. Then came that “solomonic” solution to the “problem”, which was to get back to Adamson U’s Nalos and to expel him from the court for, as far as anyone might surmise, trying to spare himself a nasty fall. The Atenean did go under Nalos after all! The move placed Nalos at the risk of a nasty fall, for Pete’s sake!

And what of Ravena, who knocked Nalos to the floor? It was decreed that the Atenean was guilty of (now get this!) as “unsportsmanlike foul.”

On top of that, captain Kiefer was rewarded with not being sent to the showers.

So what was this animal called an “unsportsmanlike foul”? It didn’t seem like no run-of-the-mill infraction, and yet its perpetrator was not bounced out on his ear as Nalos was.

I am no stranger to basketball. Time was when, as high schooler, I would spend hours, like 2 1/2 hours at a time, just shooting baskets at a goal set up beside the house.

There is no quarrel here with Ravena for his having been allowed to continue playing, nor for his having been allowed to continue playing, nor for his not being “penalized” for that very avoidable “gesture of indignation”. It’s just that both Nalos and Ravena should have been either bounced out or both allowed to play.

As things have turned out, the question is likely to be asked. Is Ravena’s value that of being a mainstay on the Ateneo squad or is, his presence indispensable as entertainment fare to basketball fans? UAAP officials should be reminded that swift and equal fairness is the mark of a true professional referee. No “pet peeves’, no favorites, no catering to the crowd‚” none of these have any place in the UAAP or in any other league.

Once Ravena graduates, or if he becomes temporarily incapacitated for a game or two, the UAAP will go happily on without him. At times, the guy seems to display cheekiness or to assume presumptive “leadership.” Pity, because on the positive side, he’s a good Ateneo player... But not the whole team, and surely not the whole UAAP, for Pete’s sake! No one player is indispensable! His sell righteous “indignation” gesture was downright reprehensible. Again, why the blind eye of the officials? It was incomprehensible and totally unacceptable! — Bobby G. Kraut, Pasay City













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