ONCE more cracking the whip on court hooliganism, the Philippine Basketball Association yesterday slapped a whopping package of fines and suspension on the players involved in the free-for-all that marred the Ginebra-Formula Shell semifinal game last Sunday at the Philsports arena.
In the second biggest fine ever to be slapped by the league, PBA commissioner Jun Bernardino levied a total of P235,000 to 14 players from both teams who either threw punches or left the bench, giving the heaviest penalty to the hothead who started it all--Shell's Jay Mendoza.
Even the three referees who officiated in the game were booked with Bernardino admitting that their oversight resulted to the melee in the closing minutes. Shell went on to win the match, 84-63, and take a 2-0 lead in their semis series.
Mendoza instigated the fight when he intentionally elbowed Ginebra's Wilmer Ong during a Shell inbound with the score at 81-62, in favor of the Zoom Masters. Moments after, all hell broke loose as Mendoza and Ginebra rookie Boy Valera traded punches that led to the bench-clearing incident.
Mendoza was slapped a record P40,000 fine and a three-game ban, while Ong and Valera were each given a P20,000 fine and one game suspension.
Noli Locsin and Elmer Lago got P20,000 each for throwing punches. Fined P10,000 for leaving the bench were Gin Kings Allan Caidic, Marlou Aquino, Bal David and Danny Aying and Shell's Victor Pablo, Rommel Santos, Noy Castillo, Jun Marzan, Dennis Harrison, Joel Dualan and Chris Jackson.
Ong, however, was allowed to serve out his suspension after the crucial third game of the series in Bago City tomorrow.
Referee Maynard Ballecer, who was the closest to Mendoza and Ong when the incident happened, drew a suspension of two games, while Ernie de Leon and Jun Lansang got a game each. Their allowances for the game were also forfeited.
Ginebra utility man Crispin Tiamson was fined P5,000 for throwing mineral water bottle during the raucus.
"The referees were at fault here. Though it is a rare occurence, this office will not tolerate such incidents. Game officials should always be on top of the situation and there is no excuse for failure," said Bernardino.
"The office of the commissioner will never tolerate hooliganism on the court, this matter has been deliberated upon by me and my staff and one of the reasons why the situation got out of hand because our game officials failed to spot that situation," he added.
Ironically, Ginebra was playing Shell in Game 6 of the 1991 First Conference when it walked out and drew the biggest fine in the league of P550,000. Ginebra was still then under the now-retired Sen. Robert Jaworski.
Still to be deliberated upon by the PBA is Tanduay coach Alfrancis Chua who got two technicals in their own semis game against Alaska.
May 18, 1999
Shell cager slapped