MANILA, Philippines - If there is one good thing that Norman Black noticed after his Meralco Bolts were dealt a 98-103 loss by the Alaska Aces , their second straight defeat, it is the PBA’s less conservative officiating that allowed increased physicality.
Fans have been clamoring about the physical play, or the lack thereof, in the league for years now but it was not the case Wednesday night, January 10, as Meralco and Alaska went at in on both ends of the floor.
The physicality came to a head when Meralco’s Jared Dillinger and Alaska’s Calvin Abueva almost came to blows in the third quarter after Dillinger dragged Abueva down from midair following the latter’s hard foul, earning both of them technical fouls.
“The games are being called a little differently now, they’re allowing a little bit more contact or a lot more contact on the court so we’re going to have to do a better job adjusting to it,” said Black.
Black, a player known for displaying brawn when he dominated the PBA as an import during the early 1980s, is every bit happy with how the referees let the players clamp down on their defensive assignments.
“I love it. I’m an old school guy so you can imagine. No harm no foul.”
Alaska head coach Alex Compton could not agree more with Black’s sentiments. Compton, who notched his first win of the season, noted that he likes “the direction the league is going in with officiating.”
“Naririnig ko sa mga ibang fans, sa mga kaibigan ko dito na ayaw masulat ang kanilang opinyon, the physicality's good. It's good for the game. It's real men going at it,” said Compton.
(I heard from the fans and from some of my friends who do not want their opinions to be written about, the physicality’s good. It’s good for the game. It’s real men going at it.)
The game was marked by a combined 57 fouls called (25 for Alaska and 32 for Meralco), by far the biggest number of combined fouls called this season, although 7 of those were whistled in the last two minutes for the Bolts in an attempt to trim the deficit.
For now, Black looks forward to keeping practices physical as well to cope with the PBA’s renewed officiating in hopes of barging into the win column when they face the TNT KaTropa on January 21.
“We’ll try to make our practices a little bit more physical by calling it a little bit more relaxed that we have in the past. Because before, we used to call everything because that’s the way the games are being called here in the PBA so now we’ll just have to make that adjustment.” – Rappler.com