NOT one but two brawls, the last becoming a free-for-all affair, marred an elimination game Friday evening between defending champion Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws and De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers in the 32nd Kadayawan Invitational Basketball Tournament that prompted organizers to declare a double forfeiture, 12.9 seconds left in the third period with FEU leading, 73-59.
A SunStar Davao source said the first brawl, which involved a few players, erupted 20 seconds left in the third canto and the game was halted but when it resumed, it had to be stopped for good after a bench-clearing fracas ensued only 13 seconds to go in the third.
Meanwhile, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) 11 regional referees commissioner lawyer Francis Calatrava, in an interview with SunStar Davao after the second game that saw UST beating Davao City All Stars, 100-89, said it was supposed to be a very nice game from the start although there were complaints on calls by referees, which according to him are common even in NBA, PBA, NCAA or Uaap.
He said the referees already had things in control but "there were instances that there were calls supposed to be called but were not called".
Calatrava added, "Teams forgot the fact that they were just supposed to play the game. No matter how the coaches want to control their players, I am made to understand that the two teams engaged in a rumble once or twice in Manila, I think what happened there was brought here. One spark ignited everything."
He recalled that after the first brawl, three players from DLSU and three players from FEU were ejected and that they all looked forward that the game will finish.
"Even after the first inbound when the game resumed, there was another contact after the other player retaliated and this ignited the free-for-all," he said, they decided that since all players from both teams already got involved in the rumble, they have to be disqualified.
"Of course it was not an easy decision to do but we have to do it. We declared a double forfeiture. In effect because of the disqualification, both teams are no longer eligible to play their respective games tomorrow (Saturday)," he said.
Thus, he added the team classification and standings were greatly affected due to the incident. Both teams will be forfeiting their supposed games against UST and Davao City All Stars yesterday due to the disqualification, leaving the Growling Tigers on top of the league with five points and the All Stars second with four points. A win is equivalent to two points while a loss is one point.
UST and Davao City All Stars both lost their respective matches in the opener Thursday.
Breach of security?
Another SunStar Davao source said Kib Montalbo of DLSU was seen holding a piece of wood from nowhere during the free-for-all, wondering where he got it considering that the gym was cleared by K9 dogs during inspection.
"Dapat wala tong dos-por-dos ambot nganong nakasulod man to (There should have been no wood here I wonder how he sneaked it in)," the source said.
UST head coach Boy Sablan, in a separate interview, said they did not expect the turn of events will favor them as they were set to play FEU yesterday.
"Siguro destiny, baka para sa amin kasi first time naming sumali dito sa Davao. Maganda naman nilaro ng Davao hopefully we beat them again in the finals. God's blessing napupunta kami sa finals at sana mag-champion," Sablan said.
He also said that his team of eight veterans and eight newbies joined the Kadayawan cagefest for exposure, team bonding and chemistry in preparation for the new Uaap season.
The seasoned coach said Davao lacks height but their defense was "okay". The Dabawenyos, according to him, need to work on their outside shooting.
The free admission championship game pitting UST against Davao City is set at 5 p.m. today at the University of Southeastern Philippines (Usep) Gym.
The DLSU and FEU teams could not be reached for comment as of Saturday.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on August 27, 2017.
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