By WAYLON GALVEZ
PBA commissioner Chito Salud handed a total fine of R170,000 on four players, including Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee and Globalport rookie Kelly Nabong, yesterday after a thorough review following a melee that marred Wednesday’s game in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Pingris and Nabong, who figured in a fistfight with 8:11 left in the third quarter of the San Mig-Globalport game at the Cuneta Astrodome, were penalized P60,000 each and slapped two-game by Salud.
The league’s Commissioner’s Office also penalized San Mig’s Joe Devance P30,000 plus a one-game suspension, while Globalport’s Marvin Hayes was fined P20,000 for his “unsportsmanlike conduct” that is equivalent to Flagrant Foul Penalty 2.
Part of Nabong’s sanction was for shoving San Mig import Marcus Blakely.
Interestingly, Blakely has been spared by Salud despite his actions, taking down Hayes with a headlock before the latter retaliated. Many observers believe that the import should have been penalized as well for what he did to Hayes.
Before handing out his verdict, Salud met with the players, with the Globalport duo appearing first before Pingris and Devance’s turn as they explained their side and apologized for their involvement in the fracas – a first this season.
“Fighting will not be condoned by the league,” said Salud in a statement.
“There is absolutely no justification for our players to get involved in fistfights. Strong emphasis is being placed on this policy so much so that those who dare to trigger fights will also be penalized accordingly,” added the Commissioner.
While the sanctions on Pingris and Nabong were obvious, Salud explained that Devance, who has been involved in several altercations in the past, was penalized “for triggering the commotion that led to the fight between Kelly Nabong and Marc Pingris.”
After Blakely’s headlock and take down on Hayes, the latter hit the former in the head while they were on the floor.
When Hayes got up, things escalated when he was shoved by Devance, sending him back to the floor. That was when Nabong retaliated by pushing Blakely, sending him too – together with Devance – to the ground. Pingris charged at Nabong with a punch and the two exchanged blows, with Nabong even hitting Pingris with a UFC-like knee to the ribcage.
They were separated by their teammates as well as coaches, including San Mig mentor Tim Cone, who held on to Nabong.
With the suspensions, San Mig will miss the services of Pingris and Devance when the Mixers play Barangay Ginebra Kings in a crucial tiff tomorrow – with both teams carrying similar 2-3 cards – at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Since returning from a two-game rest after he helped Gilas Pilipinas win a silver medal in last month’s FIBA Asia Championship here, Pingris has averaged 12.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in three games. He had 10 points and eight boards prior to his ejection in the previous game.
The 6-foot-6 Pingris will also serve his suspension when San Mig takes on Commissioner’s Cup champion Alaska on Tuesday.
Devance, on the other hand, averaged 7.8 points and four rebounds.
As for Nabong, who has become an integral role player for Batang Pier coach Junel Baculi, the 6-foot-7 center will not be available when Globalport (2-3) meets Barako Bull (3-2) also on Sunday, and Meralco on Wednesday.