MANILA, Philippines – The PBA suspended two of the referees directly responsible for the non-call in the controversial end to Globalport and Barangay Ginebra's 2016 Philippine Cup knockout quarterfinals match.
The league announced the suspension of officials Rommel Gruta and Edward Aquino for the remainder of the conference in a statement released Tuesday, December 29, following a deliberation with the 4 referees who officiated the game on Sunday, December 27 – Aquino, Gruta, Mardy Montoya, and Bing Oliva.
"In the deliberation with the technical committee, it was determined that two (2) violations were not called. One was the 5-second ball hogging violation which was the responsibility of referee Rommel Gruta.
"The second infraction was the backing violation of GlobalPort’s Stanley Pringle, whose responsibility was that of referee Edward Aquino’s," the statement read.
"The technical committee also determined that only referees Aquino and Gruta were liable for these missed calls. As a result of these two non-calls, Barangay Ginebra was denied final ball possession.
"The technical committee decided that both referees shall be suspended for the rest of the ongoing Philippine Cup effective immediately."
PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa called for a technical committee meeting with the referees Tuesday after Globalport's controversial 84-83 win, which even raised the possibility of a Ginebra protest the following day.
The Gin Kings complained that a foul or a 5-second ball hogging violation on Stanley Pringle should have been called in the final 8 seconds of that quarterfinals contest.
The referees, according to the PBA's statement, admitted there was a failure to blow the whistle on their part.
"All the referees were present in the meeting with the Commissioner. In their opening statement, the referees accepted that they missed the call, they were apologetic and were ready to face the sanctions that would be imposed on them," the statement said.
Ginebra was overcome by emotion and left stunned after the final buzzer with head coach Tim Cone storming into the court at the final buzzer pleading his case to no avail.
Fans were also highly emotional and reportedly resorted to throwing coins at Globalport forward Jay Washington’s car outside the arena after the game.
The eliminated Ginebra had a chance to file a letter of complaint to the Commissioner's Office plus a bond of at least P20,000 until noon on Monday, December 28 but decided to forego the protest and move on.