MANILA, Philippines -- University of the Philippines (UP) big man Bright Akhuetie made no secret of his feelings after the Fighting Maroons' big loss to Ateneo de Manila University in UAAP Season 82 men's basketball.
Akhuetie played just 23 minutes, going 1-of-3 from the field as he was plagued by fouls all throughout the game. He had to sit out the bulk of the third quarter after being called for his third personal foul and a technical foul in succession.
"The referee was shi**y, no doubt. F***king stupid. Basta, the kalbo guy, he's very stupid," Akhuetie said after his 6-point, 8-rebound performance. "Trust me."
Akhuetie felt that he was targeted by the game official, as he did not think he did anything to merit the technical foul. The reigning league MVP was already on the other end of the baseline when he was assessed a tech that sent him to the bench.
Already playing without Akhuetie, the Fighting Maroons also lost coach Bo Perasol after he charged at the referee for a perceived non-call on Ange Kouame's defensive stand against Jerson Prado. Perasol was tagged with two quick technical fouls, leading to his ejection with 6:23 left in the third quarter.
Akhuetie acknowledged after the game that he was also tempted to confront the game official.
"I was going to do the same thing coach Bo did, but I was gonna jump on him but I had to keep myself together because I wanted to win. But that was a stupid," he said.
"He gave me a tech for what? I was far away from him and he came to me then I was like, 'No,' then he gave me a tech. It was stupid."
Perasol's ejection had a clear impact on UP, with Akhuetie saying that the team had no leadership on the court without its coach.
"It affected me so bad because I wanted to be out there to do whatever I can to help my team win but I had to go through it," he said.
Even with the loss to the Blue Eagles, UP is still in solo second place in the league standings, with a 5-2 win-loss slate. Akhuetie said the Fighting Maroons remain optimistic of their chances in the second round, but he also hopes that the officiating improves.
"We’ll still go out there, play our basketball game and hope that they won’t bring out shitty ass referees like that who are going to mess the game up because it was shitty out there no doubt," Akhuetie said.
"I just hope that they’ll bring out good referees who will officiate the game well and let’s see what’s up at the end of the day.".
UP returns to action on Sunday, taking on Far Eastern University at the Mall of Asia Arena.
"I'm sure we're going to make the adjustments, because it's a process," said Akhuetie. "So we're going to go back and see the films, learn from what we did today and come back better next round."
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