A college basketball game in the Philippines has turned ugly after the losing side filed a protest against the winners, saying that it violated a sanction given to the coach.
The game, between the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles and the University of the East Red Warriors, was won by the Blue Eagles, 77-72, behind third-year guard Kiefer Ravena's season-high 22 points.
Ateneo Blue Eagles coach Bo Perasol is in the midst of another controversy after being spotted at a game venue while he was suspended.
However, UE filed a protest with the University Athletics Association of the Philippines against their loss, saying that suspended Ateneo head coach Dolreich "Bo" Perasol was inside the venue of the game. Indeed, pictures of Perasol inside the Mall of Asia Arena have surfaced. Perasol, for his part, claimed that he had clearance from both the team and league officials for him to enter the venue, and that he stayed inside the team dugout the whole game, showing up only after the final buzzer had sounded.
Perasol was suspended for Sunday's game after he charged at a heckler following a loss to bitter rival De La Salle on September 1.
If the protest is upheld, it will mean that Ateneo will forfeit the game, and UE gets the walkover win, 20-0. Both teams were in contention for a semifinals spot as of Sunday, but the loss was devastating for UE, which dropped out with a 5-7 win-loss card. The Red Warriors needed at least seven wins to at least force a playoff and had only two games left in their schedule.
Ateneo is tied with the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers at 7 wins and 5 losses apiece, and both teams have the chance to grab the last spot outright should they win their next assignments.
However, Ateneo has come up with an ace of its own: It appears that a suspended Red Warrior was in the immediate vicinity of the bench, also violating league rules. Forward Ralf Olivares was suspended after he tripped a National University player while he was on the bench.
A letter sent by Ateneo athletic director Richard Palou to host Adamson University's president, Father Maximino Rendon, CM, sought to ask clarification about the existing rules, citing multiple instances when UE players and those from other schools attended the games and sat near their teams' benches even if they were suspended.
Commentators took issue with both the UE protest and Ateneo's counter-protest, saying that Ateneo sent its letter more than 24 hours after the game had elapsed. However, a cursory look at the UAAP rules does not reveal a deadline for game protests; there is, however, a deadline for protests related to eligibility -- 24-hour period in the second round.
It remains to be seen how the UAAP board will act on this latest protest, especially since Ateneo's move has also implicated other member-schools.
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