“Spread” the Word

Lapu Lapu, Cebu
August 3, 2014
“Spread” the Word

Hours after a brief but meaningful coverage of the Alaska IronKids Philippines, my long-time buddy June Navarro of The Phl Daily Inquirer decided to relax in the comforts of our room while watching two basketball games–one between University of the Philippines and Santo Tomas on television and another St. Benilde and Lyceum on my laptop via livestream from TV5, AksyonTV and ncaa.org.ph. June, of course, was more concerned about the UP-UST duel having played for the Maroons early in the 90s alongside the likes of former PBA cager Poch Juinio, now Ateneo coach Bo Perasol and Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio. Interestingly, their coach back then is Rey Madrid, who is coaching the Maroons now. He was partly happy that UP was leading by a point early in the fourth quarter and at the same time partly concerned knowing his alma mater could end up imploding and blowing it up. He was right. The Maroons did after getting buried by a 20-0 avalanche unleashed by the Tigers. And then it was over. 26 straight defeats by UP. And the losses kept on piling up.

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A day later, I saw stories by my colleagues about UP’s loss. It woke me up more reading that Maroons coach Rey Madrid accused a referee of “point-shaving,” which means someone is deliberately trying to bring the game into a certain winning margin in a betting game somewhere. Example, I bet this certain amount of money for UST to beat UP by more than 15 points. If UST won by just 15 or less, I lose. If it’s more, I win. And here’s a piece by Reuben Terrado in spin.ph:

UNIVERSITY of the Philippines coach Rey Madrid hurled ‘point-shaving’ accusations against UAAP referees after the Maroons’ loss to University of Santo Tomas on Saturday. Madrid said he will definitely bring up the issue to UAAP Commissioner Andy Jao and encouraged reporters to write about the accusations he made after the Maroons bowed to the Tigers for their fifth loss in as many games this season – and 26th overall. “I hope you put that out,” he said. Madrid said he saw a disturbing trend with the referees’ calls in the final quarter, pointing to the way the officials, in his view, allowed the Tigers to go on a 20-0 run on the way to a 73-57 win. The UP coach said the referees called fouls on his players and refused to call infractions by the Tigers during that stretch to reach a ‘number’ with the final score. “It’s not hard to think malice kapag ganun,” Madrid said to a handful of reporters. “Kasi inabot pa nila eh.” When Spin.ph asked him to expound, Madrid said: “Eh may numero eh.” “Tapos na ’yung game. Hinahabol pa nila. Ilan ba ang plus?” Madrid asked reporters. “I would know kung ano ’yung plus na inaalagaan nila. Dinikit pa nila. Sinigurado nila. ’Yun yung unang pumasok sa akin,” said Madrid. “Mahirap magsabi kasi tinambakan na kami. Pero tinulungan eh. Ang laki na nga eh,” Madrid added. Ironically, Madrid blasted the referees from the Basketball Referees Association for Schools, Colleges, and Universities (Brascu), a group headed by his former coach at UP, Joe Lipa. Madrid pointed to Mark Juruena fouling out and Karim Abdul not being called for a three-second violation with the UST victory already in the bag. He added only one referee was calling those calls. “Talo na kami, kailangan pang tawagan and make him foul out. I didn’t appreciate how it was called,” said Madrid, referring to Juruena fouling out. With regards to Abdul, Madrid said: “Ang three seconds, madaling bilangin. I-extend mo ng four and still, they can’t call a three second (violation). I didn’t appreciate how they can’t call that. Undersized na nga kami, and still hindi mo pa tinatawagan ng three seconds.” “Pero kung lalake sa lalake, nakakaintindi ka ng numero at tawagan, medyo hindi ka makakakita sa court na ’yun. Nangyayari na sa harap namin eh,” said Madrid. Madrid said the UP players were frustrated with what happened, saying that a few even cried over the outcome. “I understand their frustration. Fo-foul kami, fo-foul kami. Pero to be called ng ganun. Inaawat ko na nga sila because they were so frustrated,” said Madrid.

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Sportsmaryosep’s prognosis: Having covered collegiate basketball for almost two decades and gazillions of hairfalls ago now, this has been an open secret. We broke news of a certain collegiate player being gunned down because of allegations it. There were also some players getting the boot from their team due to game-fixing and point-shaving accusations. There were also cases where referees were banned for life or suspended definitely. But this is hard to prove. And, should a league go into this deeper, it will be a long process. Hard to get evidence and witness accounts because people are obviously afraid. It’s a wild shot. But there is nothing wrong looking into this. Good luck though.
Follow Sportsmaryosep on Twitter: @JoeySVillar

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(Photos courtesy of spin.ph and UP Fighting Maroons)

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