MANILA, June 18, 2004
By Nelson Beltran  -  Talk n Text import Jerald Honeycutt and main man Asi Taulava drew suspension and fines for their grave misconduct in their game against the US Pro-Am Selection in the Gran Matador PBA Fiesta Conference at the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.

Honeycutt and Taulava were suspended for a game and fined heavily for their involvement in the melee in the closing seconds of the contest which the Phone Pals won decisively, 127-115, for an outright entry into the semifinals.

Honeycutt drew two separate fines for knocking the ball on Michael Crotty’s head then body-slamming the small American player to the floor on an inbound play with only 5.9 ticks left in the clock. He drew a total fine of P50,000.

Taulava was fined P40,000 for rushing from their bench to shove to the floor Ricardo Scott at the height of the bench-clearing incident.

The erring Phone Pals will serve their one-game suspension in their game against the Red Bull Barako Thunder at the Philsports Arena tomorrow. Both assured of a slot in the Final Four, the Thunder and the Phone Pals will decide the seedings in Group A in the crossover best-of-three semis.

Semifinal qualifiers from Group B are Coca-Cola and Barangay Ginebra, which also play for seedings tomorrow.

The three referees–Patrick Canizares, Mario Montiel and Rene Fabrez–who officiated the Talk n Text-US Pro-Ams game would be dealt with sanctions, according to Eala.

"I have given them a big chunk on what’s on my mind during the commotion. It (the fight) could’ve been avoided had the referees called a technical just as Honeycutt hit the ball on Crotty’s head," said Eala.

"We’ll talk to them tomorrow (today). I will hear the sides but I couldn’t accept explanation they missed that one (Honeycutt hitting Crotty with the ball)," Eala added. "Patrick Canizares was very close to the action."

Eala said he could have given Honeycutt and Taulava stiffer sanctions but took into consideration their clean records.

"It was Honeycutt’s first for whatever nature of offense. And we also took into consideration Honeycutt and Taulava being sorry for what happened when they came to the (PBA) office ," said Eala.

"They admitted they had no reason to do that but also said they got cheap shots ( from the Americans) in the long run of the game," Eala added.

Eala stressed they based their verdict on the act of the players and not how it would affect the stints of their respective teams.

"Baka sabihin ng iba sinuspinde just for one game kasi non-bearing game naman ang susunod na game ng Talk n Text. That’s not the way. We based them on the act itself," said Eala.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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