Basketball community ‘disorganizers’: Only if we could exclude ourselves from their narrative

Mother leagues PBA, UAAP, Philippine NCAA and the influential United States NBA have suspended referees due to erratic calls, influencing game outcomes, and even simple non-calls. How about the reason of “poor officiating”? Not really.

The vague reason is creating such a stir with a whopping 93 percent of fans believing that NBA should suspend referees for poor officiating at least in the most recent playoff games. The Alaska Aces’ fifth straight win three weeks ago made Coach Luigi Trillo overjoyed in the ongoing PBA Philippine Cup amid the league commissioner office’s verdict a day after the game which had a referee suspended for six games for calling a game-changing goal-tending violation less than 30 seconds left when Alaska needed to tie Talk ‘N Text’s score.

Controversies hounding pro league officiating left Filipino players and supporters in the Kingdom relatively unaffected when they return to the hardcourt. Bad players are hardly ever slapped with suspensions and there has been no record found pointing to referee suspension from Dammam’s UFBF to Jeddah’s FBA.

“Player nga di nasususpinde, referee pa?” a fan and an organizer put it bluntly.

In a sense of a fan culture, points out a Filipino worker in Jeddah, the zero referee suspension in the Kingdom despite opposite indications of a growing trend in the mother leagues is a welcome development. This should stay: lack of suspension means we have no problem, he says.

He adds since organizers are on top of things this means more sponsors will believe in their endeavors. For team members on a losing side brought by officiating factors, he suggests them to go back to the drawing board, stop complaining too much, stay focused on the game plan, and think positive as referees are presumed fair in their calls regardless of imperfections.

Organizers are one in saying that referee suspension is the last thing they will do since the breed of Kingdom-based referees is one that gains much respectability and has a great amount of dedication to the physical and mental work, and the problems these OFW referees face in calling the shots for the game are not as complicated and tortuous as in American and Philippine settings.

If players can be fined or suspended per FIBA and league ground rules, why can’t the referees be? An answer from a skilled Kingdom organizer is simple: Referees go by the book and with a noble goal of coming to an endgame with the making of a sport winner and the one gracious in defeat, while players/coaches/managers are just out to win, sometimes at all cost.

Referee Lito Dela Cruz, who chairs the young body as well as co-equal seniors from the Basketball Referees Group (BRG), never stops encouraging dribblers to feel young and stay cool with one’s good character intact while in the sport.

Refereeing in more than a decade in the Kingdom is no easy feat. He has come across different temperaments from a player’s personal grudge against him that extended to days and months up to the time of the player’s exiting the Kingdom to a dedicated player’s good mood no matter the game results.

Like in college basketball’s “student first, player second” concept, each player in the Kingdom is a worker first before he becomes privileged to step onto Jeddah’s Green Hall Stadium and even the overgenerous gymnasiums of Dammam’s Al Qadisiyah, Al Ettifaq and Saudi Aramco.

Back to the role of Filipino referees in the Kingdom, suspending those who figure in poor officiating remains to be seen. DC Alviar, 18 Nov 2012


Arab News (July 14, 2002). Jeddah ‘basketbrawlers’ giving Pinoy community a bad name. Retrieved June 8, 2017 from


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