By Rawle Toney
It had all that was required for a nail-biting climax, but, the Retrieve Raiders versus Colts GABF National Club Championship Finals came to a premature end with 9:18 remaining in the final period, since both clubs abandon the game played last evening (March 19).
At the time of the precipitous end, the Colts had a 54 – 51 points lead over the Retrieve Raiders but, so close was the game that it was difficult to determine the tournament’s winner.
The Raiders had complained about the officiating by an all-Georgetown refereeing panel, with the club feeling disenfranchised and most of the calls going against them.
Colts on the other hand, was playing the game as usual as both teams turned in some sensational basketball, much to the delight of the almost full Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
Things went downhill after Raiders forward Omally Sampson was called for a foul by referee Adrian George. Clearly, the player felt that the call was unwarranted since he didn’t commit the infringement.
His (Sampson) reaction to the whistle then led to George issuing him a Technical Foul and then all ‘pandemonium’ broke loose in Guyana’s premier indoor facility.
Sampson’s technical had a domino effect; queries by other Raiders players – Dwayne Roberts, Jason Alonso and Abdullah Hamid – led to them all being given Technical Fouls and ejected.
The Linden supporters came out in their numbers and sat, as usual, behind their team bench. Debris were then thrown onto the playing area by the Linden supporters and the Retrieve Raiders then exited the playing area and headed to their locker rooms.
As this happened, Colts Head Coach Dane Kendal then summoned his team to their bench area. The City team’s supporters reacted with boos while some hurled vile words towards the Lindeners as they made their way off the court.
President of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) Nigel Hinds then stormed into the Raiders dressing room and returned with the Linden players behind him.
Hinds then called the officials to centre court where they then began negotiations which would’ve allowed for the game to resume and Raiders take the court.
After their over 30-minutes deliberation, the referees then seemingly agreed to let Retrieve Raiders take the court.
However, Colts refused to resume play, owing such to the fact that according to the rules that govern the game as prescribe by FIBA, Raiders should’ve lost by forfeit when they left the playing area.
According to FIBA, a forfeit occurs if 15 minutes after the scheduled starting time, the team is not present or is unable to field five players ready to play and its actions prevent the game from being played.
A team shall lose by forfeit also if it refuses to play after being instructed to do so by the referee.
FIBA rules states that a forfeit results in loss for the offending team, a score of 20−0, and in tournaments that use the FIBA points system, 0 points in classification of teams.
The game was being filmed and produced for rebroadcast by leading Cable Provider E-Networks, and the company’s representatives were asked to ‘replay’ the portion of the tape that captured the disputed portion of the game.
While the video did support the claims of the Retrieve Raiders, it was too late as the referees had already blew off the game and ruled it a ‘no contest’.