Lawyers of the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons slammed the decision of UAAP Commissioner Jensen Ilagan denying the motion for reconsideration (MR) appealing the three-game suspension of Maroons Coach Bo Perasol, saying on Friday that the Commissioner had “passed up an opportunity to right an egregious wrong.”

Atty. Patricia Galang categorized the decision of Ilagan as “terribly misguided and based on a poor understanding of the tournament rules, a faulty appreciation of the facts, and a blatant disregard for precedent.”

“The Commissioner is improvising to justify the legally unjustifiable. In his first memo he said that the additional two-game suspension was for ‘continuous flagrant acts of aggression;’ now in an effort to justify each suspended game he has gone back to the footage and tried to identify each of the purported acts of unsportsmanlike conduct,” said Galang.

“The Commissioner is improvising to justify the legally unjustifiable.”

“But even if you look at those so-called acts by themselves, do they merit a one-game suspension? They say Coach Bo pointed an accusing and threatening finger to the official and that he deserves a one-game suspension for this; but other coaches do the same during the game without even the benefit of a technical,” Galang pointed out.

“The Commissioner talks about the values of what makes the UAAP and sports great, but he forgot the most important one: fairness.”

Galang revealed that the Maroons would once again appeal the decision of the Commissioner by bringing the matter to the UAAP Board of Trustees while studying “other legal options.”

“The Maroons would once again appeal the decision of the Commissioner by bringing the matter to the UAAP Board of Trustees while studying other legal options.”

Another member of the Maroons legal team, Atty. Jayson Jorvina, said that the UAAP Commissioner ignored appeals on the part of UP “to take into consideration the reasons behind the outburst in the first place.”

“As we stressed in the MR, this confrontation was not the result of the officiating of just one game,” said Jorvina.

“To reiterate what we explained in the MR: as someone who loves basketball and is devoted to his players and our alma mater, Coach Bo is passionate about the game, how it is played, and how it is officiated. Like many of those who have been a part of and have been entertained by the tournament these past years, Coach Bo cannot countenance unjust, unfair, and inexplicably inconsistent officiating,” he added.

Jorvina explained that “our long experience with bad officiating and the unheeded pleas for much-needed officiating reforms has contributed to our collective frustration with our refs––the same kind of frustration that Coach Bo displayed in the game against Ateneo.”

Jorvina said that the UAAP officials should remember that “everything has context.” 

“Coach Bo’s display of emotion and the ensuing confrontation with the game official should not be viewed as disrespect for the UAAP, the game of basketball, or its rules––but an expression of pent-up frustration rooted in the inability of game officials to consistently enforce the game’s rules,” said Jorvina. 

“It was also a result of Coach Bo’s desire to seek clarification for what he believed was an uncalled for technical foul on center Bright Akhuetie. Coach Bo fought for his players, fought for what is right,” added the lawyer.

“If the UAAP wants to do the right thing, then it should go after erring referees and resolve to address poor officiating with the same enthusiasm it has when it comes to punishing the league’s emotional coaches and players.”

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