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Fight erupts again; coaches hit officiating

Yousef Taha

Another fight erupted during a PBA tuneup game yesterday prompting two coaches to wonder if the referees are competent enough to handle PBA games which they said are becoming too physical for comfort.

Purefoods Star center Yousef Taha allegedly attacked Rain or Shine import Rick Jackson as they battled for a rebound position while waiting for Purefoods import Marqus Blakely to make his second free throw.

The game was immediately halted with Purefoods ahead 58-55, nine minutes left in the third quarter.

Taha, 6-foot-8, reportedly came from behind and hit Jackson no less than four times. The two were separated before the 6-foot-9 Jackson could retaliate.

It was the third fight in seven days of a tune up game. If proven to be the aggressor by the PBA Commissioner’s Office, Taha is likely to get a heavy penalty.

Rain or Shine Coach Yeng Guiao, known for severely criticizing referees and being fined for his sideline outbursts, said referees losing control of games have become a usual occurrence.

“It’s been happening too often, na palagay ko, may problema na ang liga, at officiating in itself,” said Guiao. “There are a lot of inconsistencies. Maraming manipis na tawag. Marami naman nagre-wrestling na di pa tinatawag.”

“Yung import (Jackson) binabangga ng binabangga ng local, di tinawagan ng referees. Tapos nung yung local (Taha) naman, box out lang, sumuntok ng apat na beses, so ibig sabihin, ito ba talaga gusto natin? Because you sow what you plant. Nagtanim ka ng physical game, eh talagang may mag-aaway diyan, yun ang natural course nun eh.”

Purefoods Coach Tim Cone agreed with Guiao. Cone said the league should make stricter rules to prevent fights.

“I don’t think I want another fight. We’re three tune up (games), and three fights… not us but the league. I think that itself is a strong message that things are not going well in the league’s practice games,” said Cone.