|Chris Ross was merited a technical foul late into the game that hampered San Miguel's final wave. PBA Media Bureau|
By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA--San Miguel came close to fighting back from 14 points down against Ginebra on Sunday night to remain undefeated in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Save for an intriguing moment at the death.
With 4.5 seconds to go and the Beermen down, 95-98, Chico Lanete was fouled after grabbing the offensive rebound with them at the bonus.
However, Referee Noy Guevarra gave the ball to Chris Ross, who was relatively nearer to the free throw line than Lanete, to take the two free throws.
Ross missed the first free throw, prompting Coach Leo Austria to use his last timeout to set up their second chance play with Ross expected to intentionally miss the second free throw.
That timeout, however, gave Guevarra ample time to review the tape and acknowledge his error.
"To be honest, meron din kaming fault doon. I won't deny it," admitted Eric Castro, the league's technical director. "Alam namin na si Lanete talaga."
However, the referees issued a technical foul on Ross, and LA Tenorio sank the technical free throw to stretch the Barangay's lead to four, 99-95.
"Let me read the rule: A player who deliberately takes the place of the designated free throw shooter shall be given a delay of game warning if the free throw has not been attempted. Any succeeding similar offense shall result in an unsportsmanlike flagrant foul. If the free throw has been attempted by the wrong shooter, the player shall be assessed an unsportsmanlike technical foul," Castro explained the rule behind Ross's now controversial technical foul.
Castro then bared that it was an amendment to the previous ruling that an intentional change of free throw shooter designation will just be merited with a delay of game warning regardless of whether a free throw was already taken or not.
"We had an experience before that some of the players, pag mahina yung free throw shooter na teammate nila, pupwesto sila to take their place. We encountered that," he continued, citing that one of the previous instances curiously involved SMB in a game in Cebu.
Castro then insisted, "The players know kung sino talaga ang shooter."
Lanete, the correct charity taker, made his first free throw and intentionally missed the second, but Ross failed to secure the loose ball, sealing SMB's fate as the team suffered its first loss of the season.
[Related Story: Ginebra hands SMB first loss in bizarre finish]
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