Freeman Cebu Sports

Panthers hand Lancers first loss

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers snapped out of their two-game slump in style, handing the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers their first loss, 59-56, in the 2022 Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation, Inc. (CESAFI) men’s basketball tournament last Thursday night (November 17) at the Cebu Coliseum.

The ending of the match, however, was an anticlimactic letdown especially to the UV Lancers management, sparking another controversy on the very day the league temporarily stopped the live stream of its games because of negative comments by fans.

With USPF leading by three points and had ball possession with only 4.5 seconds left to play, UV head coach Gary Cortes already conceded defeat by going to the USPF bench and shook hands with his Panthers counterpart Alan Cabatingan.

USPF’s Neon Chavez then put the ball down on the floor thinking that the game was over in that particular moment.

But in an interesting turn of events, UV’s Ivo Salarda picked up the ball and then hurriedly fired a 3-pointer that went straight through the rim.

 Confusion broke out when one of the referees, in a video clip posted by Cortes on his Facebook, extended both his hands outward apparently with three fingers raised, a signal that Salarda’s shot was counted that could have sent the game into overtime.

But after a huddle, the referees nullified Salarda’s basket, effectively shutting down UV’s hopes of forcing a five-minute extension.

While Cortes readily accepted their setback, their first after a rousing 7-0 start, the referees’ flip-flopping on their decision did not sit well with UV Lancers team manager Eduardo “Digul” Gullas III.

“Ang ako lang is kita ko sa footage and klaro gyud kaayo nga counted kay nisaka gud ang referee sa iya kamot nga 3 points di ba plus wala pa man gyud ni-sound ang buzzer,” said Gullas, who is also councilor of Talisay City.

“The question here though is ngano gi-overturn ang call sa referee? What is the official reason for not counting the basket? First, live ball pa kay wala pa ang final buzzer. Second is klaro kaayo ang referee nag-signal it (the basket) was good. Mao lang na ang ganahan nato ma find out,” Gullas continued.

When sought for comment, CESAFI Commissioner Felix “Boy” O. Tiukinhoy, Jr. said he was not around during the match but was told by chief referee Ed Aguelo that referee Jay Calma did raise his hand but not the sign of trey.

“Then the three refs huddled, that is when they decided that it is not counted as time expired.That is the protocol of the game. A TV footage is never used to decide a game,” Tiukinhoy said.

Meanwhile, there’s practically no rest for the Panthers as they immediately plunge back into action against the Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) Wildcats at 5 p.m. today.

In their third hardcourt appearance in six days, the Panthers will try to improve their 6-3 record as they wrap up their campaign in the double round elimination against the Wildcats, who are at the bottom of the standings with only one victory in seven games.


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