Tab Baldwin claimed that he is embarrassed over the attempt to put pressure on the referees entering the crucial stretch of eliminations of Season 86 University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament.
Baldwin, the outspoken mentor of Ateneo de Manila University, was brutally frank, saying that the public criticism on the quality of officiating in the UAAP is “shameful” and is detrimental to the sport.
Baldwin didn’t name names, but he was obviously referring to Adamson University coach Nash Racela, who lasted out at the officiating following their crucial 62-58 loss to the Blue Eagles last Sunday.
Racela said the league obviously wanted the Blue Eagles to win and eventually advance to the Final Four after they were awarded 15 free throw attempts that doomed their chances.
The league, however, gave Racela a “stern reprimand” after he expressed regret over his comment, adding that “there was no malice intended and there was no intention to cast doubt on the integrity of the league.”
Baldwin, however, stressed that the damage was already done and Racela’s comment put pressure on game officials that greatly affected the officiating in the final stretch of eliminations.
After all, Ateneo is sitting on pins and needles as it is waiting for the outcome of Adamson’s match against National University at press time to determine its semis fate.
A loss by the Falcons will give the Blue Eagles an outright berth in the Final Four while an Adamson victory will send Ateneo to a must-win scenario against rival De La Salle University on Saturday to somehow keep their semifinal hopes alive.
“On behalf of the UAAP, I’m embarrassed for some people in our family who are exerting the kind of pressure that they did on the referees and the Commissioner’s Office,” the Kiwi-American mentor said following their 80-74 win over University of the East.
“I think it’s shameful. I think you all know exactly what I mean. I think we need to put it behind and move forward as quickly as possible and get back to doing that is right for the game of basketball.”
“And when anybody, anybody does anything to the detriment of this sport, they are immediately my No. 1 enemy. This game has given every single one of us in this sport way, way more than we have given back to it and I think it is shameful when people bring the game into disrepute. I’ll leave it at that.”