Refs blew call in title game, KBL admits

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Refs blew call in title game, KBL admits

Korea’s ppalri-ppalri (“Hurry, hurry”) culture is so widespread it even overruled a video replay at a Korean professional basketball championship game.

The Korean Basketball League acknowledged yesterday that the three referees at the second championship game between the Seoul SK Knights and the Ulsan Mobis Phoebus on Sunday made the wrong call in a critical moment and upheld it even after an appeal of a video replay was accepted. The three referees told the league that they only saw a still shot of the moment, not a slow-motion replay, judging that it would “slow the pace of the game.”

The referees’ decision was made when the Knights were trailing the Phoebus, 59-58, with 1.7 seconds left at Jamsil Student Gymnasium in Seoul. The ball went out of ?bounds as Knights’ guard Kim Sun-hyung attempted to pass it to Kim Min-soo, and the main referee, Park Ung-ryeol, ruled that it was the Phoebus’ ball.

Knights’ head coach Moon Kyung-eun? disputed the call, saying that the ball touched Phoebus center Ricardo Ratliffe before going out of bounds?, which the video replay ?confirmed. Moon requested the replay and Park and two other referees gathered to watch it, but they soon proceeded with the game.

The Knights then fouled ?Phoebus guard Yang Dong-keun, hoping to? have another scoring chance. Yang ?made one of the two free throws, then the final buzzer sounded. The right decision might have enabled the Knights to ?win the game and tie the series at 1-1. The Knights lost, 76-71, in the first championship game on Saturday.

The KBL said that it will refer the three referees to its discipline committee for possible punishment. “We will do our best to prevent the recurrence of such a case,” the league said in a statement. The league introduced video replays before the 2011-12 season to address constant controversies over referees’ decisions.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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