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PBA: Salud nixes upgrade of Cabagnot foul

ALEX Cabagnot2by Waylon Galvez

The PBA Commissioner’s Office sees no reason to elevate the regular foul assessed Petron Blaze guard Alex Cabagnot despite Rain or Shine’s insistence that it be upgraded since ROS forward Jervy Cruz was hit with a fist that resulted in broken nose late in Game 4 Monday in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.

In a letter dated Feb. 4, 2014 to Rain or Shine board representative Mamerto Mondragon, PBA commissioner Chito Salud said that after reviewing the game tape, his office assessed that the said foul does not merit an upgrade to a flagrant foul or an unsportsmanlike conduct.

Salud said in his letter to Mondragon: “The contact to the face of Jervy Cruz resulted as Alex Cabagnot was going for the ball and not the man per se.”

Salud added: “Alex Cabagnot reached in for the ball and accidentally made contact on the face of Jervy Cruz who was bent over at that time. It was unclear and indistinguishable from our video that the contact was made with a closed fist.”

The league chief also assured that the Commissioner’s Office “will not condone blatant unsportsmanlike behavior that does violence to the game” and that the game officials’ performance
are reviewed regularly to ensure competence and impartiality.

Rain or Shine, in a letter to Mondragon sent to the PBA that same day, requested for a review of the game tape. In the said play, the Elasto Painters were up, 87-82, with 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and inbounding from the sideline in front of the bench. After Gabe Norwood passed the ball to Cruz, the latter was hacked by Cabagnot with 27.7 seconds left to play in what Rain or Shine claimed was a fist.

The letter mentioned that referee Sherwin Pineda had a clear view of the foul but only called a regular foul on Cabagnot. Due to the severity of the injury, Cruz will have to wear a protective mask in today’s Game 5 and may possibly undergo operation to repair the broken nose.

Rain or Shine won Game 4, 88-83, to take a 3-1 lead in their seven-game semifinal series.