From my Manila Standard Column on January 14, 2011
Commissioner Chito Salud set the records straight. There were 3 referees that were reprimanded recently not because they erred in working one game (Talk and Text vs. Bmeg Semifinals game) as was incorrectly reported, but because they failed to meet the stringent standards of the PBA. They were suspended from the pool.
At the start of the season, there were 20 referees working the games. During the playoffs, only 12 made the grade but there were the three that were taken out based on their performance. Come finals, only 7 or 8 at most will be left in the pool. This means, they will only use the best game officials to work the finals.
Talking to Coach Ryan Gregorio while we were shooting the cover of next month’s Baller Magazine, the official lifestyle magazine of the PBA, he said a good referee is one that does not feel he’s larger than the players. “They should know the rules and apply it with parity. They should be able to be good communicators inside the court because they’re not just officials, they’re supposed to be teachers of the game, making us understand the kind of calls they do”.
What he detests is once you complain to the referees, they automatically issue you a warning. “That only means they’re using that whistle as a tool of superiority”.
The referees that have been reprimanded may still return next conference. They will go through a series of training to elevate their sub-performing ways. This way, there’s quality control.
The league is also initiating a referees’ academy where they get to train potential game officials. The application forms are available at the PBA office and registration is up until January 31.