Nash, Ayo rarely see eye-to-eye but finally agree on one thing

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At least in this certain issue, La Salle coach Aldin Ayo and Far Eastern U counterpart Nash Racela are on the same page.

Both mentors called out game officials to observe a consistent officiating in the aftermath of their team’s bruising encounter in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tourney, with Green Archers prevailing over the Tamaraws, 73-67, on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Ayo cried foul over what he deemed as inconsistent officiating being given to La Salle’s prized import Ben Mbala, who got the full brunt of FEU’s physical and collapsing defense before finishing with yet another double-double performance of 16 points and 16 rebounds.

Ayo couldn’t help but expressed his frustrations over the men in grey when he and FEU assistant coach Eric Gonzales were summoned at half-court prior to the start of the second half.

“I was pissed off on that conversation because one of the refs said, ‘Coach ‘pag ‘di na namin kinaya, tatawagan na namin.’ What does that that mean?” Ayo asked sports scribes during the post-match interview.

“Ibig sabihin discretion na ‘pag ‘di namin kinaya… ano yun pakiramdaman? Wala ba tayong rules dito ng basketball na feeling ko, ‘Ay di ko na kaya tatawagin ko ‘to.’ Anong klaseng decision ‘yun?”

Even Racela shared his own sentiments since FEU’s own Cameroon import Prince Orizu picked up three quick fouls in the first half, throwing the Tamaraws’ defensive plan on the 6-foot-7 Mbala in disarray.

“Orizu had three fouls early and I don’t know why. You can’t be consistent if you differ from the first half. I think that’s a concern for most of the things. If you call it physical the first half, you have to call it physical in the second half. Di pwede dahil… I don’t know,” he rued.

Ayo also lamented how game officials treated the kind of physical plays being given to Mbala.

“Sabi ko nga sa mga refs, patayin na lang nila si Ben. Kasi anong klaseng foul ang bibigay kay Ben? Malakas katawan nito. Ang gusto nila malakas rin na foul para tumawag ng foul. Kung mahina na player bigyan mo ng mahina na foul foul na rin,” he explained.

“Pero ibig sabihin uniform ba yun? Dapat uniform tawagan regardless kung malakas o mahina player,” he continued.

Aware that the stakes will be higher in the Final Four round, Racela is seeking better performance from game officials.

“They should do something about it. All we could do is call their attention,” he stressed. – By Jerome Lagunzad