PLAYERS, REFEREES FINED,
SUSPENDED FOR SHELL-GINEBRA MELEE
Manila, May 18, 1999 - The Philippine Basketball Association has punished all those involved in the free-for-all during the Formula Shell and Barangay Ginebra game Sunday night with fines totalling P235,000 and suspensions for as many as three games. The three referees who officiated during the game were also suspended.
The swift and sweeping punishment was handed down by PBA commissioner Jun Bernardino yesterday who vowed that the league will never tolerate such incidents in the future.
Shell cager Jay Mendoza was singled out as the instigator of the melee when he elbowed barangay Ginebra forward Wilmer Ong with less than three minutes left in the game, Shell ahead, 81-62. Mendoza fined P40,000 and suspended for three games, which is the severest for a single player in the history of the PBA.
Ginebra's Teodoro Valera, Wilmer Ong, Noli Locsin and Elmer Lago were fined P20,000 each for throwing punches. Valera and Ong were also meted a one-game suspension for exchanging blows with Shell players during the fracas.
However, Ong's suspension will be served after tonight's game with Shell in Bago City, Negros Occidental, his hometown. If Shell wins, the Zoom Masters will enter the finals of the All-Filipino championship for the first time in 14 years.
The fines and suspensions were announced after Bernardino reviewed the videotape of the incident. He censured the three officials who worked on the game for their failure to control the situation. Referees Ernie de Leon and Jun Lansang were meted a one-game suspension while Meynard Balleser, the official nearest to the incident, was suspended for two-games.
"The officials are at fault here," said Bernardino. "Although this is a rare occurrence, the league will not tolerate such incident. Game officials should always be on top of the situation and there is no excuse for failure," Bernardino emphasized.
Also fined P10,000 each were Shell's Vic Pablo, Chris Jackson, Jun Marzan, Joel Dualan, Dennis Harrison, Noy Castillo and Rommel Santos, Ginebra playing-assistant coach Allan Caidic, Elmer Lago, Marlou Aquino and Danny Aying and Bal David for leaving the bench during the brawl. Ginebra liaison officer Crispin Tiamson was fined P5,000 for hurling debris.
In 1991, Ginebra was slapped a record P550,000 fine for walking out during a championship game against Shell.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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