Rain or Shine guard Ryan Araña and veteran center Rico Villanueva from newcomer North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) figured in a fight that led to a bench-clearing incident that marred their tuneup game yesterday at the Meralco gym in Ortigas, Pasig City.
A source said the skirmish between Araña and Villanueva erupted early in the second period with ROS leading NLEX by three points.
Araña went to the basket and was fouled by Villanueva who accidentally hit the ROS guard on the face with an elbow, bloodying Araña’s nose.
The two are from rival schools La Salle and Atenao.
In retaliation, Araña threw the ball at Villanueva and then went after the NLEX center, getting in a punch to the face.
That drew in players from both sides.
Some players shoved each other, but cooler heads prevailed in the end. The incident happened just four days after a fight broke out in the NCAA in a game between Emilio Aguinaldo College and Mapua.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao stepped into the fray as soon as it started.
The usually temperamental Guiao, who coached a rookie Villanueva at Red Bull, acted as “peacemaker” and later asked both players to patch things up.
“Si Coach Yeng na mismo ang nagsabi sa kanilang dalawa na ayusin na nila para tapos na ’yung issue na ’to, kaya nagkaayos naman agad silang dalawa,” said a source who asked not to be named.
“Nagka-initan lang siguro ’yung dalawa; baka hanggang ngayon dala pa rin nila ang pagka-Ateneo and La Salle nila. Mabuti na lang hindi naman talagang nagkagulo,” added the source.
The two teams agreed to call off the tuneup match which was supervised by the PBA Commissioner’s Office.