Entering the Final Four phase, the UST Growling Tigresses head coach Haydee Ong berated the officiating throughout the UAAP Season 86 women’s basketball tournament, citing inconsistencies and unjust calls last Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The remarks came after the Tigresses’ 80-68 win versus the Ateneo Blue Eagles, which closed out their elimination schedule and helped seal their twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four.
“Patapos na tayo in the season (but) the concerns we had in the first round until the second round remains the same,” Ong said.
“We want consistency. Kung manipis, manipis. Kung makapal, makapal,” she said, pertaining on the leniency of calls during games. “Hindi pwedeng sa first quarter manipis, tapos sa second quarter makapal.”
The Growling Tigresses committed the most fouls in the 14-game elimination round, averaging nearly 21 fouls per game, while also receiving the least number of fouls at 16.5.
In the game versus Ateneo, the Tigresses had 24 fouls, 10 more than the Blue Eagles’ 14 calls throughout the game. In the final quarter, UST was called with eight fouls, while Ateneo had none.
“Adjust kami nang adjust. Paano kami dedepensa?” Ong told the media. “And it is entering the Final Four, ganoon pa rin… How can we play?”
She also raised concerns about the disparity in the quality of calls they are getting compared to their male counterparts.
“These players are basketball players, not female players. Yung mga pinipito niyo sa amin, hindi niyo pinipito sa lalaki,” Ong said.
Ong’s comments came in the midst of numerous officiating issues in the men’s tournament, mainly those between Ateneo, the Adamson Soaring Falcons, and the UE Red Warriors, whose squads jockeyed for the last remaining Final Four slot.
The issues reached fever high last week when UAAP chairman Dr. Zosimo Battad, the president of the host school UE, verbally resigned after similar matters derailed the Red Warriors’ Final Four chances.
Despite these, Atty. Mariana Lopa, the current acting commissioner of the league in both the men’s and women’s divisions, stated that their work in the commissioner’s office will continue as usual.
“There will be no interruption of our work. The work will stay the same. We will continue to the teams’ queries for as long as they send after games when they ask for plays for review. We’ve been responding to the teams and trying to keep an open line of communication between the teams and our office.” Lopa said in a press conference later that day.
Photo by Neiro Villaescusa/TomasinoWeb
Lopa will oversee the tournament's Final Four phase, which will feature the defending champions NU Lady Bulldogs, the Growling Tigresses, the UP Lady Maroons, and the Blue Eagles.
Ong, who has been the coach of UST’s women’s basketball team since 2016, led the team to an 11-3 record, enough to secure the second seed for the twice-to-beat edge against the No. 3 UP Lady Maroons.
The Final Four will start on Wednesday, with the UST-UP duel scheduled at 11 A.M at the Mall of Asia Arena.