By WAYLON GALVEZ
Veteran forward Marc Jean Pingris of San Mig Coffee and rookie Kelly Nabong of Globalport, who figured in a fistfight inside the court Wednesday, are expected to bear the brunt of the penalties that would be imposed by the PBA Commissioner’s Office today.
Pingris and Nabong appeared before PBA Commissioner Chito Salud yesterday to air their sides and offer apologies.
Both players said they are ready to face heavy fines and possible suspension of at least three games.
“Sa palagay ko karapat-dapat sa akin yun (suspension and fine). Basta kung mali ka tanggapin mo, ‘di ‘yung papatawarin ka lang bigla nang walang fine, ‘dun ka matututo kung may pagkakamali. Hindi lang suspension ‘yan, may fine din ‘yan,” said Pingris.
Also summoned were San Mig’s Joe Devance and Globalport’s Marvin Hayes who were also asked to explain their side in the fracas, a first between two ball clubs under Salud’s watch.
Devance, who shoved Hayes, may also be suspended for sparking the violence.
“This isn’t the first time he (Devance) did that (shoving an opponent) to trigger a fight,” said a source who asked not to be named.
In a highly-physical match, San Mig import Marcus Blakely sent Hayes down with a headlock. As soon as Hayes got up, Devance came rushing to send him down on the floor anew with a shove.
Meanwhile, Nabong came to Hayes’ rescue by pushing Blakely to the floor. Pingris joined the fray by throwing a punch at Nabong who countered with a knee shot to the ribcage.
Teammates, as well as coaches, separated both players.
San Mig coach Tim Cone was seen holding an enraged Nabong.
After the dust cleared, Pingris and Nabong were ejected from the game for trading blows, while Devance and Hayes were each assessed with a technical foul.
Hayes and Blakely, on the other hand, were also called for double foul by the referees.
“It was a terrible incident. It has no place in this league,” Salud said after the game.
Last conference, Salud banned former Petron Blaze import Renaldo Balkman for life for chocking teammate Arwind Santos who tried to pacify him from going after the referees. Balkman was also fined P500,000.
With the prospect of missing the services of Pingris and Devance, Cone was unhappy over the turn of events.
“I’m worried that we may have won the battle but we lost the war,” said Cone who partly blamed referees Emmy Tankion, Rommel Gruta and Dax Dacanay for failing to control the match.
Globalport owner Mikee Romero said that he doesn’t condone violence, but understands what Nabong did.
“Nakita naman na hindi kami nagsisimula ng away. Hindi naman natin kinukunsinti, pero pag inaway kami, lalaban kami. Yes we’re a rookie team, and Nabong is a rookie, pero hindi naman pwede na ma-bully lang kami,” said Romero after the game.