USPF cleared; game officials placed under investigation
1 p.m. – SWU vs USPF (High School)
2:30 p.m. – CIT-U vs Don Bosco (High School)
4 p.m. – USC vs USJ-R (High School)
5:30 p.m. – UV vs USPF (College)
The University of Southern Philippines Foundation (USPF) Panthers were absolved of the “bench-clearing” infraction they were slapped with in their wild match against the University of Cebu (UC) Webmasters on Thursday and will be allowed to play Saturday against the University of the Visayas (UV) sans four suspended players and two assistant coaches.
The development came during a hastily put together meeting Friday afternoon at the office of Cesafi commissioner Felix Tiukinhoy. Present were USPF team manager Brian Jereza, head coach Albert Alocillo, player Clyde Avancena, Cesafi Deputy Commissioners Danny Duran and Marvin Panares, and the officiating crew last Thursday, Roland Yamelo, Melvin Caumeran and Jebrel Calma.
During the meeting, Duran admitted his error in calling off the match with 1:17 left due to a “bench-clearing” infraction on USPF.
After a review of the game footage, it clearly showed that only four USPF players – Edwin Villarta, Kenneth Cada, Ranje Mangyao and Jhmer Ranceli – and two assistant coaches – Allan Cabatingan and Kareem Alocillo – went onto the floor during the altercation between Panthers forward Roy Quiachon and Yamelo.
The aforementioned players and assistant coaches will be suspended for a game and will miss today’s match against the defending champions Lancers.
It was also decided that the three referees, technical chief Ed Aguelo, the table officials and Duran would be placed under investigation.
Duran reasoned that he just didn’t want things to escalate further to protect all the parties involved, hence his decision to put a stop to the game.
But the USPF delegation, led by Jereza, argued that they were ready to finish the game peacefully – and it sure seemed headed that way after UC guard Chris Naong canned two free-throws.
But just when the game was about to restart, things got bizarre. UC head coach Yayoy Alcoseba stormed the floor and demanded that the entire USPF squad be thrown out of the game for entering the floor during the commotion.
Duran quickly acceded and brought all the officials to their dugout, leaving USPF players on their bench, with confused looks on their faces.
“We were ready to finish the game and accept our defeat. But when Coach Yayoy demanded that we all be ejected. We were surprised why everyone started walking out,” said Alocillo.
“If we were all ejected, there were still five players who were playing inside the court and still legal to play,” he added.
The trouble began with when Avancena threw an errant pass to teammate Mark Tenebroso that narrowly missed Yamelo.
Yamelo, who had already been accused by the USPF bench of not giving them a fair shake of the calls during the game, immediately approached Avancena from behind and allegedly threatened to beat up the latter outside after the game.
Forward Roy Quiachon heard the conversation and quickly defended his teammate, confronting Yamelo, leading to some pushing and shoving.
Several coaches and players also ran on court to confront the said referee, with police officers being needed to deescalate the situation.
The aftermath saw Quiachon getting ejected from the match.
Both Avancena and Tenebroso, the USPF players involved on the play that incensed the referee, confirmed that they had no malicious intentions whatsoever.
“Why would I do such a thing? We were all just trying to finish the game as we were beaten already,” said Avancena. “I just got heated when he threatened me.”
Tenebroso explained that he was cutting backdoor as his defender was overplaying him. Avancena apparently did not get the message and instead threw the pass to the perimeter.
Jereza also revealed that he had already specifically requested to league officials to not let Yamelo officiate their game because of prior run-ins.
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