International referee Lopez is a stickler for game rules

ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 16, 2017 02:54 PM
International referee Lopez is a stickler for game rules
International referee Jeff Lopez (third from left) with fellow ref Joy de Imus and line judges Christian Cortez, Arnel de Leon, Rowena Legaspi, Joel Abolino, and Irish Santos.

He may be mild-mannered and soft-spoken, but international referee Jeff Lopez, 45, and a father of two, exudes authority when he officiates.

Never one to change a call, the six-foot referee always stands firm in his decisions as chief arbiter of a game.

What does he do when his calls get challenged?

He throws the book at the complainants.

“I usually resolve the complaints by sticking to the application of game rules,” said he, “and explain the contested call in a courteous, professional manner. Referees should stock on a lot of patience, and should not meet angry protests with an equally raised voice.”

Lopez explained that as much as possible he refrains from giving a yellow card when the player or coach gets overboard. As far back as he can remember he has never expelled a player yet from the game.

As he did in the defunct V League and Spikers’ Turf, the former Roosevelt College varsity player from Sto. Nino, Marikina, acts as assistant of chief referee Nestor Bello in the inaugural staging of the Premier Volleyball League, another big-time tournament organized by Sports Vision with Asics as official league partner and Mikasa as official game ball.

Lopez represents a group of referees and line judges who are busy throughout the year officiating, to name a few, the UAAP, NCAA, Inter-collegiate, National Open, the Philippine National Games, Batang Pinoy, and the Palarong Pambansa.

Lopez’ international stints include the Asian Men’s Club Championships held in Manila and Taiwan, and  Southeast Asia Games beach volleyball.

His involvement in sports extends outside the court.

He is simultaneously the sports development officer of Cainta as well as the head trainer of the DepEd and the province of Rizal’s volleyball development program.

There’s no surprise there when Jeff Carl, his eight-year-old son, is following in his footsteps. “I am truly delighted that my son is starting to learn volleyball and seems to be enjoying it.”

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