Playboy escaped with a controversial 78-76 win over Wushin Express in the DLX/Gualo Rai Invitational Basketball League last Wednesday night at the Gualo Rai Basketball Court, but the latter put the results of the second game under protest.
Wushin's protest stems from a crucial call in the last 1.9 seconds of the match with Playboy ahead by only a deuce, 78-76, after Rocyl Ritual canned a triple. Playboy's Frank Macahito then picked up the ball and with both his feet inside the court, threw the leather to a teammate.
Referee Jojo Garon, who was at the bottom of the basket, first called the violation, but Dado Vistal overruled the former's decision and handed possession back to Playboy. A frustrated Wushin crew then just let Playboy make the throw-in and later put the game under protest.
Wushin contended that the ball was live after the field goal was made and instead of going out of bounds for the throw-in, Macahito was inside the court and rushed an inbound play, throwing the ball to Mike Palacios. Vistal, however, argued that there was a dead ball and the referee (Garon) on top of the play should have handed the leather to Playboy for the inbound play.
To shed light on the contested call, Saipan Tribune sought the opinion of Elias Rangamar, vice president of Basketball Association of Northern Mariana Islands, which is the local governing body of the sport and uses FIBA rules. Rangamar said after a field goal is made and there is no violation (foul or errors) or any interruption (time out or time expired) after the shot, a player can make the automatic inbound. FIBA rules on throw-in procedure (FIBA Official Basketball Rules 2012, Article 17, Section 2.7, page 20) also states “following a successful field goal or a successful last or only free throw, any player of the non-scoring team shall take the throw-in at any place behind that team's endline. This is also applicable after an official hands or places the ball at the disposal of the player taking the throw-in after a time-out or after any interruption of the game, following a successful field goal or a successful last or only free throw.”
Meanwhile, league organizers were scheduled to meet last night to decide on Wushin's protest.
The results of the Wushin-Playboy tiff are crucial as both teams are gunning for playoff berths in Pool A. Playboy holds a 3-2 card, while Wushin has a 2-3 card, pending the final resolution on the crucial game. San Antonio (4-1), Zhaila's (5-2), and KFC Taco Bell (5-3) are the current Top 3 placers in Pool A and only the Top 4 squads will advance to the playoffs. MBI (4-2) and Blue (2-2) are also in the playoff hunt.
Meanwhile, in Pool B Gualo Rai boosted its playoff chances after beating LD Prime in the first game, 96-82.
Jun Estolas scored 31 points to improve Gualo Rai's record to 4-3 and put the team to a share of fourth place with QQ Rent A Car.
Gualo Rai 96 - Estolas 31, Diaz 15, Jose 14, Mallari 9, Lauron 6, Lagado 3, Morales 2.
LD Prime 82 - Capalad 21, Dela Rama 20, Teegeyo 15, Banatasa 6, Hernaez 6, Magtuloy 4, S. Quemado 2, K. Quemado 2.
Scoring by quarters: 23-21, 46-45, 71-66, 96-82.
Playboy 78 - Demapan 25, Palacios 17, Manangan 15, Macahito 10, Barrios 8, Gonzales 3.
Wushin Express 76 - Ritual 29, Devero 20, Patawaran 8, Tobias 6, Ebuen 5, Tibayan 4, Villasan 2, Herrera 2.
Scoring by quarters: 22-17, 39-37, 61-52, 78-76.