Star coach admits to frustration, but keeps mum on referees
MANILA, Philippines – Star head coach Chito Victolero admits his emotions got the best of him during the Hotshots' contentious Game 4 loss to Barangay Ginebra in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Wednesday, but opted not to comment on the officiating after the game.
Ginebra took Game 4, 93-86, to tie the best-of-seven series at two games apiece. As befitting a "Manila Clasico" encounter, Game 4 featured not just impressive basketball plays but some physical battles, verbal tussles, and psy-wars.
"It's down to a best-of-three," Victolero said after the game. "I'm very happy. Still, it's 2-2, 'di ba? Best-of-three, maganda pa rin para sa amin."
The Hotshots chirped at the referees repeatedly in the second half, and it culminated when Victolero was given a technical with 11 minutes left to play as he crossed the half-court line. The coach was incensed when Kevin Ferrer scored to make it a 69-62 lead for Ginebra off an assist from Dave Marcelo, when replays showed that Marcelo traveled before making the pass.
Fouls on Paul Lee and Mark Barroca further angered the Hotshots, with even the normally genial team manager Alvin Patrimonio entering the court to talk to game officials. By the game's final minutes, the Star fans were chanting "Luto, luto," and Allein Maliksi made a "cooking" gesture that he later claimed was meant as a signal to his teammates, and not for the referees.
After the game, Victolero admitted that he did get frustrated. "Medyo mataas ang emotions ko," he said.