Free throw lane violation in NCAA, UAAP


First, I wish to congratulate the Letran Knights for bagging the NCAA Season 91 basketball title by besting the former five-time defending champs San Beda College (SBC) Red Lions in a thrilling 85-82 overtime win in Game 3 of the Finals.

Coach Aldin Ayo’s wards displayed an enormous heart during the pressure-packed game and overcame the bigger Lions. Kudos to my favorite Letran player—Finals MVP Mark Cruz. After the 2012 Finals, which SBC won over Letran, I told Mark that he would have other chances at the championship. He finally got his taste of the NCAA crown last Thursday on his final game in college basketball. Props also to Fr. Vic Calvo, Kevin Racal, Rey Nambatac, Jomari Sollano, McJour Luib and company, and the coaching staff, especially my friends Louie Gonzales and Glenn Capacio. Indeed, a well-deserved win.

Moments after the game, I couldn’t hide my disappointment over what I thought was a dubious call that effectively shut the door on San Beda’s six-peat hopes. On Twitter, I posted, “Refs made sure the NCAA sees a new champion.” The call was something we often see in UAAP and NCAA games—the free throw lane violation. With 6.7 seconds left in overtime and Letran up, 83-82, Sollano was about to take his second free-throw when teammate Luib entered the paint for a rebounding position. Lion Art Dela Cruz then followed but not after a moment of hesitation while looking at the referee, as if to check if it was okay (to enter). Sollano missed the shot. Both rebounders were inside the neutral zone before the ball left the shooter’s hand. Yes, there was a lane violation. But the refs ruled it as a double lane violation resulting in a jumpball situation via possession arrow. Possession to Letran.Left with no choice, the Lions fouled Cruz, who sank the first free-throw for a three-point lead. He bungled the second with just 3.7 ticks left leaving little room for the Lions to heave a shot.

I was seated on the San Beda bench as Team Manager and saw Luib enter first. Later on, the Knights admitted to having planned the coup after realizing that the possession arrow pointed their way. They baited Dela Cruz into entering ahead of the shot. And the refs took the bait too.

Wrong call. The call should’ve been a violation on the first offender even if a second one followed. Hence, possession should’ve gone to San Beda with still 6.7 seconds left in the game and down by just two. Although difficult, the Lions could’ve still sent the game into another overtime (or win with a triple). And so, that call by the refs, even if unintentional, made sure the NCAA saw a new champion.

It wasn’t my intention to sling mud at Letran’s victory. If my post offended people, then I apologize, especially to Letran and my Letranite friends, the NCAA, ABS-CBN and other stake¬holders. But I cannot apologize to the refs, whose mistake San Beda paid for dearly. The call not only deprived San Beda a chance to win, but also Letran a more compelling triumph. It left a bad taste in the mouth.

I respect NCAA commissioner Bai Cristobal, his staff and the Brascu referees, who officiate both NCAA and UAAP games, especially its chief Romy Guevarra, and senior official Nestor Sambrano, who was among the Game 3 refs. But for the sake of future games, the group must review its interpretation of the free throw lane violation rule.

Before anybody accuses me of being bias, let me say that I sought the opinion of FIBA experts, since the NCAA declared that it uses strictly FIBA rules. They were unanimous in confirming my interpretation. They saw the game video and said Luib made the violation first, and possession should’ve gone to SBC.

One of these experts, a retired FIBA Europe referee, said it best: “A double lane violation can only be called when both rebounders enter at the same time. But this is rarely seen in basketball. There’s always someone who comes in first, and his team gets the violation. Baiting an opponent is not within the spirit of the rules.”

I rest my case.


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  1. Im a newbie when it comes to basketball so I asked my friends from Beda and Letran who know the rules of basketball explained it to me, and they said the same thing “Its supposed to be San Beda’s ball, not Letran’s. Letran already made the first violation, therefore Art’s violation shouldnt be counted, they already made the violation from Letran’s side” “Double-lane violations are supposed to happen at the same time, not one after the other thats why its rare to call it a double lane violation becuase it doesnt happen.”

  2. concerned citizen on

    Let’s put things in proper perspective: In Game 3, the double lane violation favored Letran as deemed by San Beda but as correctly pointed out by Letran coach Aldin Ayo, the calls went both ways. As can be seen Game 2, at the height of the breakaway by San Beda during the last few minutes, it was very obvious that Baser Amer committed a traveling violation that turned the game around for San Beda and against Letran. Hence, in layman’s terminology, quits quits lang.

  3. Let’s face it. Beda players are strong. Letran, however, is better coached and well-managed.

  4. Let’s face it. Beda players are strong. Letran, however, is obviously better coached and well-managed.

  5. Move_on_already on

    Cpfari Thank you for your interpretation.Yes in the old days its jumpball but that nas been changed to which team the possession arrow is now pointed top. The letran players knew this and thought of a way to Use this advantage. This beda manager just can’t accept the fact that letran outsmarted them specifically outsmarted their top scorer and past mvp.

  6. Move_on_already on

    You are congratulating letran for a victory that you think would not have happened if the referees made the call the way you want it? This is a confusing letter with full of bitterness and refusal to move on. You mention how you think the rule should be interpreted based on OPINIONS of you FIBA experts whom you do not even name. First of all they can give their OPINIONS all they want but they have no jurisdiction on the matter. Now on the špirit of the rule. Baiting is not the špirit of the rule? Well how about when you fake a shot to bait him for a shooting foul? Him aout faking a dribble to the left they making a quick move to the right would that be unfair top and a violation? Well you baited your defender to move in another direction? Just give it up already. You are now embarassing yourself, your school, and the team that you are managing. I think most of them have already move on except you. Concern yourself with who you will bring in to replace ola, on your reinforcement sin ce your team really relies on them. Trust me it will do you some good.

    • The red lions didnt relied on Ola on every game! If he was relied on every game then would have been MVP for every game! The red lions relied on echother!!! I see them in the gym working their asses off!!! Every single one of them!!!! Not just Ola! Just because he is the tallest in the team it doesnt mean that he was a good player from the start, Infact in his first year he didnt know how to shoot a ball but with passion and determination he was improving. Not just Ola but also Baser Amer, Art De La Cruz, Dan Sara, Reyes, Koga, Donald and every red lion that has been in court with him!! All of them were not good basketball players but with passion, determination and improvement they stood out from everyone else in the court not just Ola. So before you say the team relies heavily on Ola make sure you watch EVERY SINGLE GAME for the past 5 years!!!

    • Actually Mac is right from what I know in the NCAA Season 87 Ola didnt compete in that season because he was undergoing residency, in fact San Beda Red Lions won with an all-filipino cast at that time :) so before you say they relied heavily on Ola I suggest you watch every game :)

  7. Amado Palaspas on

    I hate the double lane violation calls in the UAAP (I rarely watch the NCAA). It gets called a lot. But this game was not won or lost on that last call. San Beda had all the opportunity to win, even leading in the OT period. Still, an amendment of the rules should be made. Turn off the poasession arrow in the last 2 minutes. Let them jump the ball.

  8. “the Knights admitted to having planned the coup after realizing that the possession arrow pointed their way.”

    From the looks of it, Letran free throw player Sollano is attempting to make his second basket. At that moment, how would the entire coaching staff of Letran know if san beda players would also commit a lane violation? This is just a hindsight on the part of Letran.

    To purposely commit a lane infraction (Luib) and the 2nd basket would have gone in, without san beda committing a lane violation would only mean that the basket will be nullified. – As a lover of basketball, this is something you would not ask your player do to.

    Is the rule also telling us that a violator will be rewarded (extra possession) from a violation he intentionally committed??

    There was no simultaneous lane violation in this particular case. The first infraction should have been called by the referee as he sees it. It should have been san beda ball possession with 6.7 seconds left with Letran in the penalty.

  9. I agree, and even if there was a simultaneous lane violation by both teams Article 43.3.3 of FIBA rules a jump ball situation existed. I wonder why the TV commentators, seconds after, were quick to mention that it was a valid and right call. There was also a simultaneous agreement that it was the right call among newspaper internet editions. Did the opposing team have the time to discuss and plan that? Maybe somebody else, not connected with the basketball event and with the needed expert resources, directed the scheme during the last seconds of the game.

    • Outdated na yata rule na iyan. As far as I know, the FIBA has long replaced the jump ball with the possession arrow rule. The only time a jump ball is allowed is in the start of the game.