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Narvasa assures fair officiating in Game 7's

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By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa assured the PBA fans that there will be no hint of spotty officiating in the two PBA Philippine Cup semifinal knockout games.

"Rest assured that there is impartiality and transparency in each and every call. We are always open to scrutiny. Our referees will constantly call the games with fairness and integrity in the best way they can," Narvasa said in a statement on Monday, hours before the first Game 7, the showdown between TNT and San Miguel, will tip off at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

The statement came at the heels of a growing number of rants online and offline from fans about the dubious calls and non-calls made by the referees that they thought have influenced the outcomes of the matches in the ongoing Final Four round.

"Non-calls and wrong calls are part and parcel of officiating, they are considered honest mistakes," Narvasa's statement continued.

The commissioner also said that his office will remain open for further suggestions to make the officiating better.

"From the start, we have called the games as they are. We have always been open to dialogue with teams’ coaches and officials to continuously improve the officiating," said Narvasa, who opted to remove discretionary calls and amend the rules on some fouls following a meeting with the coaches recently.

He also expressed his agreement on the statements of Ginebra coach Tim Cone and Star gaffer Chito Victolero, whose respective teams' own rubber match is set on Tuesday also at the MOA Arena, that Game 7 is a "player's game."

[Related Story: Game 7 a "player's game" according to Cone]

"In Game 7's, it is not already about the X and Os. Game 7s are decided not by the coaches, not by the game officials but by the players themselves. It is for who wants it more," Narvasa continued.

In conclusion, he thanked the fans and the clubs for the continuous support to the top-tier club basketball league.

"Nothing can compare to the excitement of a do-or-die game, more so, two knockout games.... The PBA owes this to our teams, more especially to you, our fans," Narvasa further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno
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