MANILA, Philippines —Adamson coach Nash Racela won’t be suspended for his post-game press conference remarks after the Falcons’ 62-58 loss to defending champion Ateneo in their Season 86 match on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The league on Tuesday bared that Racela reached out to the league and apologized for mentioning the UAAP in implying that Ateneo is favored to make it to the Final Four.
Racela stated in the letter, which he later posted on his Facebook account after the UAAP’s statement, that he was sorry for singling out the UAAP in the post-game interview.
“If it will do us any good, I apologize for the mere mention of the UAAP in the interview. I guarantee that there was no malice intended, and there was no intention to cast doubt on the integrity of the league,” he said.
Racela, however, remained defiant when it came to what he deemed was a game-changing missed call on Joseph Obasa’s block on Cedrick Manzano when “there was a clear hit on the arm of Manzano and it was clear that Obasa never hit the ball.”
That play, which happened in the .26 mark, was deemed as a “correct non-call” by the UAAP according to the fourth quarter report it released.
“I truly believe this is exactly where the problem lies as we coaches cannot reconcile with your office our observations about the game. My vision as a coach in the UAAP is that we see eye to eye hopefully before Season 86 ends,” Racela also said in the letter.
Talking to the media on Sunday, the coach expressed his frustrations on the officiating in the fourth quarter of their game, where the Falcons were called for 11 fouls and got in the penalty at the 7:30 mark.
“I know they like Ateneo to make it to the Final Four. I don’t know how much percentage. Malaki, majority ‘di ba? The UAAP probably wants them. A lot of people probably want them to go in,” said Racela after Ateneo shot 8-of-15 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter alone with his team only fouled twice.
But the UAAP, which admitted the referees had six incorrect calls — three each for both teams — out of 22 in the quarter, said it would not suspend Racela.
Instead, the coach “has been issued a stern reprimand as a reminder of the importance of maintaining the league’s integrity and sportsmanship.”
“Following the said statements, the UAAP, through the Commissioner’s Office, issued a letter to Coach Racela, which contained a reference to UAAP rules violated and a postgame report of the fourth quarter of the subject game. The report revealed that there was an acceptable margin of error, and missed calls were divided equally between both teams,” the UAAP wrote. “While the penalty of suspension could be imposed outright, Coach Racela was given an opportunity to escape the said penalty by making a formal apology for his statements.”
Racela is free to coach the Adamson’s crucial game against National University on Wednesday in consideration of his “apology and clarification,” the UAAP said.
The Falcons, who have a 5-7 record at fifth place, fight for their Final Four hopes in their last two games against the NU Bulldogs on Wednesday and the UE Red Warriors on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.