Last week the Philippine Basketball Association initiated the 2021 Season Philippine Cup’s Best of 7 Finals series between TNT Tropang Giga and the Magnolia Pambansang Manok. The former got to this point by beating the Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beermen, while the latter squad overcame Rain or Shine and MERALCO. Game 1 on October 20 and Game 2 on the 22nd saw victory go to TNT, both times with comfortable leads. Game 3 last Sunday, October 24, saw Magnolia salvage its prospects with their first Finals win, but the match also featured a controversial foul call that the league has since taken action at.
According to The Manila Bulletin, the PBA has just confirmed the removal of Kenny Hallig, a referee officiating during the 2021 Philippine Cup Finals Game 3, from working at other league championship games yesterday. In a statement delivered this Tuesday, October 26 the PBA technical committee acknowledged that Hallig called a foul wrong on the third clash between TNT and Magnolia at the DHVSU Gymnasium in Bacolor, Pampanga. The mistake was highlighted by the league’s deputy commissioner Eric Castro and Bong Pascual, head of officials.
The error went as follows, on the 2021 Philippine Cup Finals Game 3 of the 24th, Second Quarter, Magnolia’s Paul Lee attempted a three-pointer that was challenged at close quarters by TNT’s Brian Heruella. Hallig fouled Heruella, only for a video review to clarify that at no point did Heruella make contact with Lee when the erring official blew his whistle. This incident was met with negative reactions from viewers and even TNT team owner Manny V. Pangilinan, souring what should have been a nicely-fought 106-98 win by Magnolia to halt the Tropang Giga’s race to four. Pascual noted that mistakes will happen, but that the PBA will still act.
The PBA head of officials clarified that no foul-incurring contact happened between the two players observed by Kenny Hallig. “Things like this happen. Referees are humans, says Pascual. “But their mistakes don’t go unpunished.” As a result, it appears Hallig has been removed from referees officiating in the Finals, perhaps in all PBA championship games.
After an abortive start of the 2021 Season in Metro Manila that was halted after the mid-year rise of COVID-19 cases, the PBA transferred to Pampanga and resumed its season games August 31 at the gym of the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor. Game 4 between TNT and Magnolia plays Wednesday, October 27.
Image: Official PBA website