by TITO S. TALAO
Manila, Philippines – Text coach Chot Reyes the day after Game 7 last Sunday. Word is he’d left immediately for the States on ofﬁ cial business for the MVP Sports Foundation.
Maybe when he returns I’d get to talk to him, especially if he brings back news of another historic sporting spectacle like the NBA All-Stars which the MVPSF pulled off last year.
* * *
A last look at the closing minutes of Game 7 of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals which continue to draw an angry howl from TNT fans:
Thinking that we’ve seen enough, most of us covering the game had left the upper ringside press box by the time TNT point guard Jimmy Alapag had halved his free throws to give the Tropang Texters a 9point lead with 6:07 left.
In the press room, we split the remaining time between glancing at a 17-inch LCD monitor and trying out drafts for BMeg’s epitaph.
Then James Yap buried a 3-pointer for the Llamados, TNT defensive guard Ryan Reyes was taken out with a strained knee, the Texters’ Ranidel de Ocampo and Larry Fonacier missed 3s, B-Meg import Denzel Bowles hit one over Ali Peek, and Yap scored on a drive.
Suddenly, it was a 2-point thriller with still 3:58 left and TNT handicapped by the 5 fouls saddling import Donnell Harvey and
The rest would come down to the ﬁ nal play of regulation with 1.2 seconds left when a foul called on TNT forward Kelly Williams sent Bowles to the line for two free throws with B-Meg trailing, 76-74.
Here comes the bone of contention although the championship game went into overtime where the outcome was ultimately settled.
Did Williams come into contact with Bowles? From what I’ve seen and heard, yes, Williams did.
Was the contact negligible? The immateriality of that, I believe, was for the referee to determine within a fraction of a second.
Was he right in blowing his whistle? Under the circumstances, it would appear he had no choice.
If there was contact and he had let go, he would have decided the outcome right then and there for TNT, and he would have
paid dearly for his negligence.
In the same vein, if the ref had called a foul and it was found out Williams didn’t touch a hair on Bowles’ body, then the game ofﬁ cial would have given B-Meg a huge lift, and that ofﬁ cial would be plying his craft elsewhere the very next day.
But if Williams, from slow-mo replay, is shown to have come into close proximity with Bowles so as to cause him to lose his balance ever slightly while taking a shot pointblank – as it seems the case here – then what else could a referee do?
Of course, there are those who argue that TNT wasn’t actually done in by that dying second play in regulation but by the sixth foul called on Harvey (late in the fourth quarter) and Peek (in the extra period).
Maybe, but I’ll leave that for the Commissioner’s Ofﬁce to look into, if a review is warranted still.