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Salud calls for ceasefire

Atty. Chito SaludAs the word war escalated between top officials of rival companies, PBA Commissioner Chito Salud yesterday called for a ceasefire to avoid things to get out of control that may hurt the pro league.

“Passions are obviously running high,” said Salud in a statement issued via text message to members of the media in reference to the word war between officials Robert Non of San Miguel Beer and Ricky Vargas of Talk ’N Text.

“I encourage restraint at this point,” he said.

Salud further added that the Commissioner’s office already “took note of issues raised pertaining to team officials sitting on the bench” and that he will clarify that matter to the PBA Board of Governors.

“I will discuss my views and recommendations with the board even as I assure everyone concerned that game officials are prepped in advance by this office to anticipate this sort of dynamics and hence are aware and equipped to deal with them as they happen,” Salud said.

The issue between Non and Vargas started when TNT coach Jong Uichico was quoted as saying, “let’s just hope the refs do a better job. Yeah (I’m disappointed), but it’s a given when you’re playing against the San Miguel group.”

Uichico ended his statement when he said, “I’ve been there” without elaborating since he coached San Miguel Beer from 1999 to 2005 and Barangay Ginebra from 2006 to 2012.

He won six titles with SMB and two with Ginebra.

In a text message to The Bulletin late Monday, Uichico clarified what he said, saying: “It was not meant against the SMC organization. I owe where I am now to the SMC management whom I have been with for almost 20 yrs.”

Non, however, took offense on Uichico’s statement as he criticized and questioned the TNT mentor’s behavior.

“It is a pity that Talk ‘N Text has resorted to unfounded, unnecessary and unfair complaints about the officiating, which I would say sort of maligning and has put into question the integrity of the PBA as an institution,” said part of Non’s statement.

“I am surprised that coach Jong Uichico would stoop so low with his insinuation about how the referees allegedly favored San Miguel Beermen. Normally, I would not respond to such accusations, but coming from Coach Jong, who was many-time champion coach from his previous teams and a national coach at that, I find his comments unbecoming of a coach of his stature,” said Non.

In a report by Spin.Ph posted late Monday, Vargas fired back at Non, whom he accused of “intimidating” the referees that is “conduct unbecoming a governor” and whose actions are also uncalled for.

Vargas particularly made mention of Non’s presence on the bench during games.

“His attitude and his behavior on the court is the one that is uncalled for. He is a governor yet he intimidates the referees, he intimidates the game officials, he goes (inside the court),” Vargas said in the report.