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Fight mars La Salle-FEU match in Davao

By Jerome Lagunzad

Games Sept. 9
(MOA Arena)
2 p.m. – UE vs NU
4 p.m. – Ateneo vs Adamson

Games Sept. 10
(MOA Arena)
2 p.m. – UST vs UP
4 p.m. – FEU vs La Salle

If their latest encounter is any indication, the keenly-awaited showdown between defending champion La Salle and bitter rival Far Eastern University in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament on Sept. 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena could be no holds barred – to say the least.

27tuffin copy

Punches were thrown and kicks were also delivered as things got out of hand in a very emotionally-charged matchup pitting the Green Archers and the Tamaraws on Friday night during the Kadayawan Festival invitational tournament at the Almendras Gym in Davao City.

Game officials were left with no recourse but to call off the highly-physical matchup with still 20 seconds to go in the third quarter after emotions reached its boiling point, with FEU in control 73-59 over a La Salle side playing minus reigning UAAP league MVP Ben Mbala.

Based on several videos posted online, Archers guard Kib Montalbo and Tamaraws wingman Kenneth Tuffin exchanged solid bumps during a transition play, causing players and officials from both teams to storm their way to the floor.

During the ugly sequence, FEU guard Axel Iñigo tried to act as a pacifier but was taken down by La Salle backup Brent Paraiso, triggering a full-blown brawl that organizers feared the most.

Tamaraws veteran Ron Dennison, reportedly sent to the showers after getting ejected earlier, made his way back to the court and threw a haymaker to a blindsided Montalbo, sending his Archers counterpart to the floor.

La Salle coach Aldin Ayo was also accused of trying to choke FEU recruit Arvin Tolentino during the fracas, with a large welt seen on the neck of the promising big man based on the photo posted by FEU assistant coach Ryan Betia on Twitter.

Cooler heads initially prevailed and organizers decided to let the match push through, only to be left disappointed following another bench-clearing incident.