The Games That Play Us: Missed Call

Anthony Hargrove and the Tamaraws barely scraped
by the tough Fighting Maroons.


UP lost this game, yes, but, in a way, a very bitter way, it was also lost FOR them.

It’s easy to harp on the missed chances UP had in the endgame, and there will be time and space for that later, but one cannot go on writing about this game without mentioning the tragedy delivered by one missed call.

It’s perfectly normal for referees to miss some calls here and there (that, however, rarely makes it forgivable), and for one reason or another. Perhaps nobody had a good angle with which to see how the play transpired. Perhaps the refs were looking at off-the-ball situations instead of focusing on the actual shot. Perhaps, and this is probably the most dastardly of all possible excuses, because it was a non-superstar like Diony Hipolito cutting against a would-be superstar in Anthony Hargrove, the refs simply expected the shot to be blocked or gave Hargrove the oft-referenced superstar treatment.

Whatever the reason was, and no matter how justified it is or not, that single missed call shaped the game in a big way.

On the level of statistics, the most obvious direct effect is that it robbed UP of a well-deserved basket that could’ve cut the lead down, 70-68. Instead, the Maroons, most of them probably expecting the call to be made no matter how late, had to scramble on defense against the FEU juggernaut. Terrence Romeo then got fouled, and he split his freebies on the other end. The lead stood at 71-66. That, folks, is what you call a 3-point swing – what could’ve been a 2-point gap, a one-possession game, became a 5-point deficit, a two-possession game. Had the goaltend been called, and even if Romeo still hit a free throw, Alvin Padilla’s trey with under two minutes to go would’ve tied it at 71 instead of simply inching UP closer at 71-69. So you see, that one call really made a big difference.

All that, of course, is creative speculation. God knows what events would have transpired had the call been made. Maybe Coach Bert Flores would’ve sued for time and a different play would be devised. Maybe the Tamaraws would’ve been so aghast and frustrated that they’d rush their shot and miss altogether. Who knows, right?

I guess the point, if anything, is this – the league should think of a failsafe for these kinds of “misses” from the officials. As far as I know, the now omnipresent instant replays are used to review calls related to possession (out-of-bounds, jump balls and what not) and certain scoring situations (buzzer-beaters and validating a three-pointer), but I’m sure there’s a way to include other cases like goal-tending as well. Maybe a “challenge” can be made by a coach in similarly critical situations ala the NFL?

Yes, that might slow down the pace of a game, or take away its “natural flow,” or make it too technical, but in this day and age where we have the means to further secure the integrity of the officiating, I frankly don’t find any of those arguments compelling.

Having said all those things, however, the Maroons had several more chances to win. I actually felt the jump-ball situation late in the game that went UP’s way was the officials’ subtle way of making up for their earlier miscue. The fact of the matter is UP still had some golden opportunities to win, but, again, they just couldn’t close. I honestly felt Alvin Padilla’s drive to the hole in the last minute was too hurried, and that they could’ve definitely settled for a better shot. Mark Lopez’s split with five seconds left also sealed the Diliman quintet’s doom.

Also, in fairness to the Tamaraws, they played a great game. They led practically from start to finish, and there were never really any cracks until the last few minutes. Romeo was awesome once again, producing a near-triple-double line of 24 points (a career-high), 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. He made all but 2 of his attempts from beyond the arc. Whattaguy, huh?

Here’s some food for thought, though – if you’re a bit of a stat-buff, and if you’re familiar with the simple efficiency rating used in our Weekly Player Awards, analyzing the box scores will yield this mildly surprising result – UP was the more efficient team. They were, all in all, dare I say, the better team.

By my count, FEU scored an efficiency rating of 80, while UP scored 82. That’s a very slight difference, yes, but it’s still a difference. And even the slightest difference, the slightest edge, can decide the outcome of a game.

The slightest edge. The slightest difference. One missed call.

Mark Lopez cannot really be faulted for feeling a
little slighted after a missed goaltending call.

Terrence Romeo remained to be the focal point
of FEU's stellar offense.


FEU 73 – Romeo 24, Hargrove 10, Tolomia 7, Mendoza 6, Belo 6, Garcia 5, Bringas A 5, Escoto 5, Cruz 3, Pogoy 2, Bringas M 0
UP 70 – Silungan 12, Soyud 11, Lopez 9, Ball 8, Padilla 8, Montecastro 8, Manuel 5, Hipolito 4, Gamboa 3, Mbah 2, Wierzba 0, Romero 0, Asilum 0
QS: 22-15, 41-32, 60-51, 73-70
Notable Performers:
Terrence Romeo (FEU) – 24pts, 9rebs, 8asts, 5 treys, 2stls
Anthony Hargrove (FEU) – 10pts, 9rebs, 4blks, 1ast
Raul Soyud (UP) – 11pts, 11rebs, 2stls, 1ast, 1blk

*Images are from
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