MANILA, JUNE 28, 2006 (STAR) The PBA meted yesterday the Red Bull franchise and coach Yeng Guiao two separate fines totaling a whopping amount of P.5 million for their attempt to abandon Game Four of their Gran Matador Brandy PBA Philippine Cup Final Four showdown with San Miguel in protest over officiating Sunday.

The ball club incurred a fine of P400,000 and Guiao P100,000 for their misdeed on Sunday’s incident. Lordy Tugade was likewise fined P6,000 for foisting a "dirty finger" sign towards PBA officials and team scorer Edgar Fernandez P1,000 for offensive language directed towards PBA officials during the commotion.

Guiao was fined P100,000 for instigating and solely deciding on the walkout, for public statements deemed detrimental to the interests of the league, and for committing unsportsmanlike conduct during the game.

"After a thorough review and evaluation of the incident, then taking into account game tapes and statements of Red Bull officials as well as other witnesses, the Commissioner’s Office found no cogent, justifiable or valid reason for the decision of the entire team to stage a walkout," said PBA commissioner Noli Eala.

Eala made the decision after a conference with Red Bull team manager Tony Chua, consultant Andy Jao and Guiao.

"In our conference, coach Yeng Guiao himself admitted that they are not justifying their act of walking out from the game. He asserted that this was his own decision to send a message to the officials of his disgust and displeasure about the "poor officiating," said Eala.

"Upon review of the game tape, however, the PBA Commissioner’s Office finds no credence to the basis of the walkout. The game officials generally performed their functions within the strict guidelines of officiating set by the PBA which have been clearly communicated to the teams," Eala added.

"While the PBA shares the common desire of all member teams to continually look for ways to improve the conduct of its games, especially officiating in the league, the PBA shall never condone, tolerate or admit as a reasonable and fair option the act of walking out of a game, whether consummated or aborted."

Red Bull team manager Tony Chua said they would abide by the commissioner’s decision as he admitted their misconduct.

"It was wrong for us to walk out. I don’t condone coach Yeng (Guiao) for leading the walkout," said Chua.

"I was with the team when we stormed out of the court. But I was the one who told coach Yeng that we should go back. We stood as a team. It’s not nice to argue on the bench," Chua added.

The Red Bull team manager were able to raise their concern with the officiating in their meeting with Eala and the league’s technical staff.

"They agreed to the points we raised and they promised to look into it," said Chua.

Despite the controversy, the Bulls promise to stay focused on their job as they battle the San Miguel Beermen for the pivotal 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven semis duel today at the Araneta Coliseum.

Earlier in the day at 4:40 p.m., the Alaska Milk Aces go for the clincher versus the beleaguered Purefoods Chunkee Giants in their own side of the Final Four.

"The guys should not be affected by the calls. If officiating doesn’t improve, we have to find other ways to beat them," said Guiao.

"We have tied the series but it doesn’t mean the next games would be easy. It’s always a battle when you play Red Bull. But I think the momentum has shifted to our side going to Game Five," said San Miguel coach Jong Uichico.

Much of the attention in the day, however, could well be on the Aces as they take their first of cracks at wrapping up their series against the Giants.

"Surely, we’re gonna go out and try to get that Wednesday," said Alaska coach Tim Cone. "We had a couple of days break and I think that’s going to favor us a little bit because we’re able to rest."

Purefoods faces a tough task of winning three straight games to salvage the series. In the league’s entire history, only one team has overcome a 1-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. Barangay Ginebra accomplished the feat versus Shell in the 1991 All-Filipino Conference.

Larios retreats into secret training By Abac Cordero The Philippine Star 06/28/2006

Oscar Larios played hide-and-seek yesterday and kept mediamen guessing where and how the Mexican puncher is keeping himself busy only five days before he faces Manny Pacquiao at the Araneta Coliseum.

Larios was to work out at the Elorde Gym in Ortigas before noon. But he never showed up. The former world champion reportedly spent the morning at the Philsports Arena track oval. But again, there was no official sighting.

A check at the nearby Discovery Suites, where Larios is billeted, showed that the Mexican visitor never left the hotel and opted to sweat it out at the fourth-floor fitness center named Balance. No media was allowed in.

Larios showed up at the Araneta Coliseum Monday morning for a public workout. His agent, Rafael Mendoza, said last Sunday his boxer was to train at the Big Dome in the afternoon. But they left sooner than expected.

Where Larios would train in the next four days now remains the question. Mendoza said they have "five options" but added "I’m not gonna tell you where."

While Larios was nowhere in sight, Pacquiao was there to see at the Luneta early in the morning and the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex boxing gym by lunchtime.

Pacquiao took his daily 5-mile run around the Quirino Grandstand by 5 a.m., took a short nap upon returning to his aristocratic Manila Hotel suite. He was in the gym for his regular two-hour workout by 11 a.m. Freddie Roach, the bemedalled American trainer, said this will be the case for the days leading to the fight.

"We’re tapering off a bit but we’re still working hard. It’s not gonna be easy. It’ll still be hard work as usual. Manny doesn’t know how to take it easy," he told The STAR before the session started.

"Everything’s right on schedule and everybody’s happy. We’re taking this fight seriously as we always do. Manny is happy. And when Manny’s happy everything goes well," he added.

"We’re ready for war."

Proof that Pacquiao isn’t letting up was a late run near the hotel the other day.

"The public workout wasn’t enough to satisfy me or Manny so we ran last night. We did a little extra road work to make up for it," added Roach.

For the fight, Pacquiao will get to wear his favorite gloves, the Mexican-made Cleto Reyes. It was the same brand he used in demolishing Erik Morales last January in Las Vegas.

While Pacquiao has declared his brand of choice, Larios has yet to make up his mind in using either the Everlast gloves of the Cleto Reyes.

Meanwhile, Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista was declared unfit to face Mexican bantamweight Alejandro Mentiel on Sunday’s undercard.

According to Sammy Gello-ani, one of Bautista’s handlers, the 19-year-old sensation was told by doctors to stay off the ring, two days after being rushed to the hospital in Cebu due to high fever.

Either Malcom Tuńacao or Bernabe Concepcion will take Bautista’s place in the undercard, which also features former world champion Gerry Peńalosa.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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