By WAYLON GALVEZ
Manila, Philippines – Rain or Shine, as expected, was fined a whopping P2 million yesterday by the PBA Commissioner’s Office – the biggest in league history in a game-related penalty – after staging a ‘partial’ walkout in Game 6 of the just-concluded 2014 PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
The decision came after PBA commissioner Chito Salud met with Rain or Shine officials, including team owners Terry Que and Raymond Yu, who both opted to join the meeting together with coach Yeng Guiao to make clarifications on several matters.
“It was made clear by coach Guiao that it was not a premeditated move on the part of the ballclub,” said Salud during a press briefing. “He further acknowledged that it was his own decision to leave the playing court with the players.
“This is a case of a partial walkout which under the rules is defined as the whole team leaving the playing court and returning to continue to play within the allotted time,” added Salud, who was with PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial and director for basketball operations Rickie Santos.
The fine of P2 million on Rain or Shine is under the new PBA policy, which the Board of Governors created after a 2010 walkout staged by Talk ’N Text in Game 4 of its quarterfinal encounter against Barangay Ginebra in the Philippine Cup.
Salud said the meeting went smooth, although he declined to discuss what clarifications were made by Rain or Shine.
The commissioner described Que and Yu as true “gentlemen and sportsmen” and Salud said both made it clear that they are ready to face the consequences of the team’s action after Guiao ordered the walkout with the Elasto Painters trailing San Mig Super Coffee, 30-17, with 11:39 remaining in the second quarter last Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rain or Shine returned to the court after three minutes had elapsed on the 15-minute grace period given by Salud. A failure to return after the period would have been more damaging as the team would be penalized P10 million for a “full” walkout.
San Mig went on to win the game, 93-87, and the best-of-seven championship showdown, 4-2, for its 11th overall PBA title.
Although the PBA commissioner said the penalty was “deeply regrettable” it was just the right penalty for Rain or Shine under the league rules “for subverting public interest and the integrity of the game” and the actions like this can “never be condoned” whether in a finals game or not.
The 54-year-old Guiao, a first-term congressman representing the 1st district of Pampanga, was also fined a separate P50,000 for being assessed his 13th technical in the Philippine Cup during the first half of Game 6. He now has accumulated a league record of P824,750 on total penalties.
The fiery mentor, however, begged off to comment on the team’s penalty.
As for the Rain or Shine bosses, Yu said they accept the decision of the Commissioner’s Office since it is under the rules, saying: “There was a walkout, and it was clear in the rules.”
Rain or Shine’s PBA board governor Atty. Mert Mondragon and team manager Boy Lapid accompanied Yu, Que and Guiao in the meeting.
The R2 million penalty is now the biggest in terms of walkouts.
When the Tropang Texters left the bench in a 2010 playoff versus the Kings, the league’s former commissioner Sonny Barrios fined the team R1 million when they failed to return to the court before the 15-minute grace period. TNT lost in that series as Ginebra won Game 5.
The first walkout in league history was recorded back in 1990 when Anejo (now Ginebra) coach Robert Jaworski ordered his players to leave in the first half of Game 6 of the 1990 First Conference Finals against Shell, which clinched the title via forfeiture.
That team was fined P550,000.
Guiao was also involved in a walkout in 2006 when he was then the head coach of Red Bull (now Barako Bull). He also ordered his players to leave the playing court, only to return and finish Game 4 of a best-of-seven semifinal series against San Miguel Beer of the Philippine Cup.