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UAAP won’t punish Archers, Tamaraws

The UAAP spared members of the La Salle and Far Eastern University basketball teams of any sanctions for their part in a massive brawl which happened less than two weeks ago in an invitational tournament in Davao City.

Anton Montinola, this year’s UAAP president from host FEU, bared in yesterday’s press conference that the league had no jurisdiction over the Kadawayan Invitational – the tourney where the Green Archers and Tamaraws trade blows during the third quarter of their semifinal game held at the Almendras gym – thus letting the two squads get off the hook.

Incidentally, La Salle and FEU square off on Sept. 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena to start their respective campaigns.

“I think it’s best to move on,” Montinola said. “This was a pocket tournament in Davao and it wasn’t part of the UAAP. We don’t want to dwell on it and we just want to focus on the upcoming UAAP season and let’s request FEU and La Salle to have a really good game.”

Rebo Saguisag, named as both commissioner and executive director, however, warned that a repetition of such incident during their much-awaited showdown would mean serious punishments.

“I expect them to behave like champions and they will behave like champions, and I think I was assured that none of this will happen in the UAAP,” said Saguisag.

Saguisag, basketball commissioner for the third straight season, though stressed that his technical crew won’t take any precautionary steps, like in the other games of the UAAP’s opening weekend set to start this Saturday at the same venue.

Coaches Aldin Ayo of La Salle and Olsen Racela of FEU have urged their teams to focus on the task at hand, instead of mapping out plans for a sequel. Ayo and Racela even embraced each other when they and their counterparts from the six other UAAP schools pose for the cameras after the Q & A session.

“Very unfortunate that it happened, pero di na namin pinaguusapan yun,” said Ayo in his first comment of the incident that caused supporters of both teams to trade accusations after several videos were posted on social media.

“Actually were too focused on the UAAP right now, sabi ko di na kailangan pagusapan at wala naman nananalo sa social media. If you argue and prove your case, lalaki at lalaki lang,” added Ayo, who also denied choking FEU player Arvin Tolentino, saying he acted as a peacemaker during the height of the fracas.

“What I always preach to my players is to move on and be mindful of the present,” said Racela, taking over from brother Nash this season. “Everyone’s so excited about the coming UAAP season so let’s leave it at that.”

La Salle is tipped the heavy favorite to win a second straight crown despite the departure of Jeron Teng to graduation and Ben Mbala missing the early part of the tournament to represent Cameroon in the FIBA Afrobasket.