Brawl mars finals

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014


WHAT was supposed to be a smooth-sailing victory for defending champion Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles turned ugly when a brawl marred their game against the University of San Carlos Warriors for the SeaOil-National Basketball Training Camp (NBTC) Division 1 Elite League Cebu City Leg.

Halfway into the fourth quarter and with the Magis Eagles leading by as much as 17 points, a commotion started when Jan-Jan Jaboneta of SHS-AdC dove for the loose ball with USC’s Jean-Jacques Antigua ending on top of him.

After the brawl, the Magis Eagles eventually kept their title following a methodical 91-76 win in the Division 1 finals.

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Jaboneta’s diving incident happened in front of the USC bench, compounding the situation.

Magis Eagles supporters alleged that USC center Kervin Villagracia, who was sitting on the bench, kicked Jaboneta while Antigua was roughhousing him the back.

But USC officials say Villagracia was just trying to stop both players from hitting at each other.

“Villagracia was just trying to stop Jaboneta and Antigua from hitting each other. He entered the court after the action was whistled. Instead, Villagracia was accused of kicking Jaboneta. My concern was the referees were not treating the game fairly,” said Bon Rosito, who called the shots for the Warriors in the absence of Britt Reroma, who was hired to coach a team in Malaysia for a short tournament.

According to Rosito, his instruction was just to play and enjoy the game since they are already in the national finals.

The commotion left a cut on Scott Aying’s left eye, which USC said was due to a punch delivered by either an SHS-AdC player or from coach Sai Bacalso.

But SHS-AdC claimed that Aying’s cut was the result of his collision with referee Jerry Narandan.

Villagracia and Bacalso were thrown out of the game, which resumed nearly 15 minutes after it was stopped.

Jaboneta was named Most Outstanding Player (MOP) in the tournament and finished with 25 points. National All-Star bound Arnie Padilla added 19 points, while Aying led USC with 16 points. Paul Galinato added 14 and Villagracia scored 11 before his ejection.

Meanwhile, San Isidro Parish School of Talamban got a chance to play in the national finals following its 69-58 win over the highly-favored St. Louis College-Cebu of Mandaue City in the Division 2 Finals.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 25, 2014.

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