by Jonas Terrado
Games Wednesday (Cuneta Astrodome)
4:30 p.m. – Alaska vs Columbian
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs NorthPort
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial is due to summon this week Phoenix star Calvin Abueva and San Miguel Beer import Kevin Murphy to shed light on a scuffle that marred their PBA Governors’ Cup match Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Sanctions are expected to be handed to Abueva and Murphy, who got entangled with 4:11 remaining in the Beermen’s 117-100 victory that almost escalated when several members of both teams exchanged words.
Abueva and Phoenix coach Louie Alas later expressed frustration the officials for giving Murphy a Flagrant Foul 1 instead of a Flagrant Foul 2 which would meant an ejection for the dreadlocks-wearing San Miguel reinforcement.
“Siguro kung sa amin nangyari yun baka itatawag nila (If that happened to us, they might call it differently),” said Alas, whose comments may also lead to a fine.
Murphy appeared to have put Abueva in a headlock as the two players almost crashed into the signage board at the baseline.
Alas also got into a heated exchange with San Miguel team governor Robert Non and assistant Biboy Ravanes before being pacified by his players.
San Miguel’s win snapped a three-game skid to tighten its grip on eighth spot in the standings at 3-4, a situation rarely experienced by a team used to contend for championships.
The Beermen’s struggles, primarily caused by June Mar Fajardo’s injured right shin, prompted Fuel Masters import Eugene Phelps to indirectly fire a warning shot.
“They’re a great team but honestly without June Mar, they’re a regular team,” said Phelps after Phoenix’s win over NLEX last Wednesday.
Fajardo is set to return later this month from an injured right shin which was diagnosed after San Miguel’s loss to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals.
Phelps’ comments somehow lit a fire on the Beermen, who saw rookie Christian Standhardinger and Marcio Lassiter providing Murphy help on offense to deal the Fuel Masters their second loss in three games.
Phoenix fell to fifth place at 6-3, half-game behind Blackwater in the race for a top four finish.