Letran coach Garcia calls for ref Borbe’s NCAA ban

Naveen Ganglani
After NCAA Commissioner Bai Cristobal handed out the punishments for the Letran-JRU post-game incidents, Knights coach Caloy Garcia says his team will appeal the suspension on Mark Cruz and ask for referee Ian Borbe to be banned

HOT-HEADED HOOPS. Mark Cruz (L) of Letran was allegedly challenged to a fist fight by referee Ian Borbe. Photo by Josh Albelda

MANILA, Philippines – What was an entertaining game on Monday, July 14, between the Letran Knights and Jose Rizal University Bombers was shadowed by a series of ugly post-game incidents involving Letran head coach Caloy Garcia, some of his players, a Knights fan or alumnus, and NCAA referee Ian Borbe.

With 11.2 seconds remaining in the match, which JRU eventually won, 69-60, Borbe called a second technical foul on Coach Garcia for reportedly using profane language, disqualifying him from the game and automatically costing the Letran coach a suspension in his team’s next match, due to NCAA rules and regulations.

After the final buzzer sounded, Letran player Mark Cruz approached Borbe over the calls he and his teammates felt were unfair to their squad all throughout the game. Some reports indicate that Borbe allegedly challenged Cruz to a fistfight, which was later confirmed.

Moments later, an unidentified Letran fan or alumnus threw a foreign object at Borbe, to which the game official responded by flashing his middle finger. Eventually, the San Juan Arena bounces separated members of the Knights from Borbe to put a stop to the melee.

Early Tuesday morning, July 15, NCAA commissioner Bai Cristobal handed out punishments for those involved in the ugly event.

Garcia, due to his two technical fouls, is automatically suspended for his team’s game against College of St. Benilde on Monday, July 21. Cruz received the same fate for verbally abusing the referee during the 30-minute cooling period to approach the game officials rule applied by the NCAA, while teammates Kevin Racal, Rey Nambatac, Jamil Gabawan, and Rey Publico were issued warnings.

Norbe, meanwhile, is suspended for three games and the fan who attacked him, though still being identified, will be banned for the rest of Season 90.

A few hours after the commissioner announced his verdict, Rappler reached out to Coach Garcia, who mentioned that Letran plans to appeal the suspension slapped on Cruz.

“Pinaniniwala ko yung kay Mark, pumunta siya sa referee dahil sinabi na susuntukin raw siya,” Garcia mentioned. “He didn’t even grab the referee, tinapik lang niya.”

(From what I’ve gathered, Mark approached the referee because the ref told him that he would punch him. He didn’t even grab Borbe, he just tapped him.)

He also explained that he understands the consequences of his actions, saying that he nor Letran will contest the suspension given to him.

“Yung saakin, two technicals ako, so based on the rules, suspended ako.”

(I got two technical fouls, so based on the rules, I’m suspended.)

However, Garcia says that Borbe has had a bias against the Knights dating back to last year. 

“Kasi last year, we were playing a game against Benilde, then he wasn’t calling anything,” he said about Borbe, who called multiple technical fouls on Letran in Monday’s matchup with JRU.

(Last year, in a game against CSB, he wasn’t calling anything fair for us.)

“Although we won the game, ang dami niyang maling tawag.”

(We won the game, but he had a number of bad calls.)

But that wasn’t all.

“As far as I remember, there were a lot of games we complained.”

Though Garcia understands why the NCAA punished him and, he doesn’t comprehend how Borbe received only a three-game suspension.

“I don’t even know why only a three-game suspension was given to Borbe,” he said. “Dapat bi-nan na yan eh.”

(He should have been banned.)

The first order of business for Letran will be to appeal the suspension handed out to Cruz, but the school also plans on appealing the dismissal of Borbe.

“I think the appeal would be first to make sure Mark isn’t suspended. It was the ref who initiated, so that’s one. I think they should at least take out Borbe from the NCAA.”

Garcia proposes that the NCAA Commissioner should watch the game between Letran and JRU again to see the unjust decisions made by the official, who will be re-evaluated in his return.

“I think the job of the commissioner is to watch the game, to study it. Medyo maayos naman siya when it comes to the guidelines. Talaga strict siya sa mga tagawan,” noted Garcia.

(He’s pretty educated when it comes to the guidelines. He’s really strict with the calls of the game officials.)

“I think he should look into it, what Borbe did. Kasi para saakin, may calls talaga na hindi mo maintindihan. Mahirap maging referee, but if you see one ref going bad against you for how many games, they should look into that. Paka may problem siya sa Letran.”

(For me, there were a lot of head-scratching calls. He might have a problem with Letran.)

When asked about the Letran fan who threw the unidentified object, Garcia was quick to mention the neither he nor the school condones the action of one of its own.

“Depende kung tinamaan siya, but I think it’s also going to be fair,” he said of Cristobal’s judgment to ban the unidentified culprit for the rest of the season. “Dapat hindi mo binabato eh. I think it’s fair naman.”

(It depends if he [Borbe] got hit, but the decision is fair. The fan should not have thrown the object, so the decision to ban him is fair.)

But Borbe’s decision to answer back in profane manner? Garcia calls it unjustifiable.

“Kung binato siya nang ano man, dapat umilis nalang siya. For a ref to do that, ang pangit tingnan niya eh.” 

(Whatever was thrown at him, he should have just let it go. For a ref to do that, it’s not a nice image.) – Rappler.com

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