Phoenix felt it had been robbed of a win, but import Kevinn Pinkney chose to move on, moments after the Fuel Masters dropped a heartbreaking 104-109 defeat to Rain or Shine Friday night.
Phoenix fell to 10th spot with its 3-6 record, putting into peril its playoff chances with just 2 games to go in its Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup schedule.
“We still have a good chance. We wanted to finish in the middle of the pack at the start of the conference, but that might be farther reach,” Pinkney told reporters after the game.
“But making the playoffs is still a reachable goal so we’re still gonna try to just make the playoffs. And if we make the playoffs, who knows, but we gotta start on Friday (April 8),” he stressed.
A look back at the endgame showed that the 6-foot-9 Phoenix reinforcement already gave the lead back to his team, 106-105 as Pinkney scored inside off a broken play with 17.9 seconds left in the game.
But the referees halted play moments later after the Rain or Shine protested on Pinkney’s basket, saying the former Boston Celtics forward grabbed the net just as the ball was circling around the ring.
The referees went on to review that sequence with television replay revealing that Pinkney indeed, grabbed the net just before ball went in.
Minutes later, the game officials nullified Pinkney’s shot, calling it an offensive goal tending, drawing a howl of protest from the Phoenix bench led by coach Koy Banal and alternate governor Atty. Raymond Zorilla who were right at the faces of the referees.
“I don’t know. I’m not gonna comment on it (offensive goal tending). The refs called what they called. It’s over now, so we had to play through it. They called whatever they want to call,” rued the 32-year-old former Nevada standout.
When asked if he indeed, grabbed the net deliberately, Pinkney said it all happened at the heat of the moment.
“To be honest, I don’t remember grabbing the net. And if I did, I did but I don’t remember grabbing net,” he said.
“I just tried making the shot and the refs called it the way they saw it. I just have to respect their call. Now we just need to regroup because it’s a must win for us the next 2 games,” added Pinkney. – By Richard Dy
Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava