FASH DETERGENT FORCES RUBBER: SIMON SHINES

MANILA, February 6, 2004  (STAR) By Joey Villar - June Peter Simon made good his vow to play big last night, silencing his detractors with a shining MVP performance that had Fash Liquid Detergent forcing a deciding Game Five with Welcoat Paints in their PBL Platinum Cup title playoff at the Pasig Sports Center.

Simon outperformed himself and left no doubt he’s every inch deserving of the MVP award he won Tuesday as the Liquid Power repulsed the Paint Masters, 72-64, to stretch the best-of-five series to the limit.

Fash and Welcoat fight for all the marbles at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Philsports Arena.

The Makilala, North Cotabato youth erupted for 28 points and came up with the plays fuelling Fash’s killer run in the fourth quarter.

Simon personally clinched the victory as he faked off MVP race chief rival Jojo Tangkay for a key baseline jumper in the homestretch.

As Welcoat called a timeout with Simon in front of its bench, the Fash ace gunner took a dagger look at the Paint Masters then pointed a finger at them before proceeding to their own bench.

"Talagang emotional ako kanina dahil nasaktan ako sa ginawa nila sa akin nung Game Three," said Simon, referring to the Paint Masters’ act questioning his MVP win.

"Masayang-masaya ako dahil binigyan ako ng chance ni God na patunayan ko kung sino talaga ang MVP," he added.

The incident Monday also led to the resignation of league commissioner Chino Trinidad.

But Trinidad appeared in the game last night as he accepted the apology of Welcoat players and management even as the board renewed its call for the PBL chief to reconsider his decision to quit his post.

"I appreciate the call of the board for me not to step down, and at the same time I am elated by the gesture of apology from the Welcoat players which I accepted wholeheartedly," he said.

Trinidad, however, insisted that his decision to quit over what he called the blatant show of disrespect by Welcoat players to the Commissioner’s Office stands. "I need time and space to think whether I will reconsider my decision or not. Medyo malalim pa rin ang sugat. If ever I’ll be back again, I want to be doubly effective in running the affairs of the league," he said.

With Fash down by eight, 51-59, early in the final period, Simon exploded with 15 points in the quarter, keying the Liquid Power’s stirring come-from-behind win.

Tangkay, the losing MVP contender who also promised to play big last night, could score only 11 points on a poor 4-of-12 shooting. Incidentally, he averaged 20 points in the first three games of the series.

After being criticized for lack of focus in the series, James Yap sizzled with 23 points but was held to only three in the fourth quarter.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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