Though Motolite pulled off a stunner against Choco Mucho to end their first round campaign on a high note, Godfrey Okumu was visibly unhappy as he made his way to the post-game presser, Sunday.
As it turned out, the Motolite head coach was frustrated with the way the referees officiated the cardiac five-setter.
“How bad can they be? I’m just wondering.
“Or how bad can they not see the things that even the crowd can see,” said the usually-calm Okumu.
According to the Kenyan mentor, it all started at the crucial juncture in the opening set.
With Motolite down by a point in a two-to-win situation at 25-26, battle-tested playmaker Iris Tolenada lofted a set towards one of her attackers. Unfortunately, officials called her for a double contact violation.
“They called on us and the game ended the first set just like that, we agreed. But it happens on [the other] side but nobody calls,” the UP mentor recounted. “A mistake is a mistake.
“You cannot miss it once and call it the second time at a very crucial point.”
Okumu then pointed out the crucial calls that marred the final stretch of the match.
When Choco Mucho held a slim 11-10 edge late in the fifth frame, Tots Carlos fired consecutive hits to overturn the deficit.
According to Okumu, Carlos’ attacks grazed the fingertips of the defenders before it sailed wide. However, she was called for back-to-back outside infractions as the scales tipped heavily in favor of Choco Mucho.
Several sequences later, Motolite held a 14-13 cushion. They sought the opportunity with a first ball reception heading towards Tolenada, who looked to incite the match-clinching play.
But as the ball neared Tolenada, who stood at the net, Arianna Angustia reached towards the ball and hammered down a kill to forge a deuce.
Okumu thought that it should’ve been penalized as an overreach infraction. Still, the referees stood their ground. Tolenada, Motolite’s captain, then aired her complaints to the umpire but she ended up receiving a yellow card.
“The setter was waiting to set that ball, here. And somebody just touched that. If it was up there, she’s waiting, and the ball was not going over and it was not called. I really don’t understand,” disclosed Okumu.
He then continued, “As a coach, I have to complain of things, [like] the calls that had not been called. They don’t listen to my captain. You send the captain but they sent them back. So sometimes, self-control is good but sometimes, it’s just too much.”
For someone who has made a living out of his passion for volleyball, Okumu knows all too well that even a single wrong call can prove to be fatal in a match where errors can easily translate to points.
And since he believed the officiating had been poor throughout the match, the grizzled tactician couldn’t just sit still and let things go.
“If it’s good officiation, it’s good. We give them credit. But if it’s bad, it’s bad — like today,” said Okumu, who also refused to let another controversy go — one that concerns “double standards.”
“You know there are two different people here: the coach on one side and the coach on the other side. This coach makes noise about the same call, about the mistake that the referee made, they get a yellow card. This other coach makes the same noise about the same mistake that was made by the opponent, they don’t get the yellow card,” he said.
“So you’re left to wonder, why is there a double standard? I’m sorry to say this. Am I too tall? That everyone sees me when I’m making the noise?”
Okumu also called out Herbert Matematiko, the referee who penalized him with two yellow cards due to continuous complaining on two separate occasions.
The first card came during the match against PacificTown-Army last September 1 before receiving the second one in the third set against Choco Mucho.
“The same guy was the second referee. It cannot end here, the second referee when I got a yellow card the other time, remember? Yet again, I got a yellow card,” Okumu said. “It’s unbelievable.”
And before he left the press room, the Kenyan mentor made one thing clear. As he put it:
“I’m not complaining, I’m just putting forward my statement. I’m frustrated as a coach — very, very frustrated with the officiation.”
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