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BBI clarifies Enderun-UST brawl, metes out suspensions

BBI clarifies Enderun-UST brawl, metes out suspensions

MANILA, Philippines – Breakdown Basketball Invitationals (BBI) officials clarified the incidents surrounding the brawl between the University of Santo Tomas and Enderun College in the tournament’s men’s Under-25 division at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center last Sunday, June 9.

The match was stopped at the seven-minute mark of the third period with UST leading, 44-39, following the brawl that saw a total of seven players plus one unidentified supporter from the Growling Tigers’ side.

BBI officials reviewed CCTV footage of the incident and described the following, and tournament commissioner Matt Calizar described the incident:

“Enderun’s Michael Dela Cruz tried to save the ball from going out of bounds but the ball ended up in the hands of UST’s Brent Paraiso. But the referee closest to the play whistled that Dela Cruz was already out of bounds before being able to tap the ball in. Paraiso then placed the ball on Dela Cruz who stood up to confront the UST player.”

“The referee immediately slapped a technical foul on both players.”

“Instead of cooling down, Paraiso pushed Dela Cruz in the face prompting the latter to retaliate. Paraiso then threw a punch. While the two squared off with Dela Cruz retaliating with a punch to Paraiso, several UST players — identified in the video as Rhenz Abando, Ira Battaler, Ian Herrera and Mahloney Tarranza — then ganged up on Enderun’s Joaquin Mariano who was trying to play the role of peacemaker.”

“Another Enderun player identified as Francisco Tansioco also struck Paraiso who had fallen to the court after absorbing Dela Cruz’ earlier punch.”

“The fight ended when the coaches of both team pacified their respective players.”

BBI tournament director Gil Salandanan clarified that earlier in the game, there were several instances that could have sparked the brawl. They were mostly moving or illegal hard picks but none of the unsportsmanlike nature. They were assessed as ordinary fouls. 

Both coaches were asked if they wanted to continue the match at a later date, but Enderun declined and said they would instead take the loss.

BBI head Jay Adevoso stated, “The league takes great pride that in its five years of conducting tournaments for grade school, high school, and college competition, we have never had anything such as the bench clearing brawl that occurred during the Enderun-UST match. Prior to all our games, we ask all players from the entire team to line-up at center court to shake hands — not only as a sign of sportsmanship, but also to prevent any untoward incidents. This has prompted us as a league to also make sure that we talk to all coaches prior to the start of the match that we will not accept any rough or dirty play. Anything of that sort will be immediately called out by game officials.”

“The referees were in control of the game,” added Adevoso as several BBI officials were present during the match. “However, it was physical.”

BBI executives also stated that they will issue a memo to the respective teams regarding player suspensions that should amount to a match or two depending on the severity of their actions.