Save for a wad of money as payment for fines, Alaska will have a complete lineup when it tries to level its best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup Final Four series with Talk ‘N Text today at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Cyrus Baguio escaped suspension but was slapped a P30,000 fine by the Office of the Commissioner yesterday for his hard tackle on Jason Castro in the fourth quarter of a 79-93 loss to the Tropang Texters on Wednesday.
And that’s good news for the Aces, who certainly cannot afford to lose a second straight game in their 6:45 p.m. clash with the “three-peat”-seeking Texters and be buried in a 3-1 hole against the most formidable team in the conference.
Gabby Espinas was also fined P5,000 for his participation in a near-brawl in the third quarter, while super rookie Calvin Abueva was meted a total of P7,400 in penalties for a technical foul and a flagrant foul 1 infraction.
Sonny Thoss of Alaska and Jared Dillinger and Kelly Williams of Talk ‘N Text were also slapped P1,000 fines for technical fouls in the series that has taken a rugged turn.
“It looks like it would be a long series, and I expect it to continue to be physical in future games. We just have to be ready for it,” Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black said after taking a 2-1 lead.
Alaska coach Luigi Trillo admitted that they got outplayed in Game 3.
“They out-hustled us. Give them credit, they played their identity,” Trillo said. “They were tougher defensively. We didn’t have that resolve today. They ate my guys up.”
Baguio hit Castro in the face with a forearm during a fastbreak play, and though the Alaska swingman has never had a reputation of being a dirty player, he was immediately tossed out of the game because of a FF2 call.
The former UST ace in the UAAP appeared before commissioner Chito Salud yesterday morning and gave his side. He admitted to not being able to play for the ball and that he was really thinking of giving a hard foul.
“There was no blatant follow through of Baguio’s arm as he was going for Castro’s face,” Salud said in a statement. “It was decidedly sheer momentum on his part that largely caused the hard contact on Castro.”
The winner of this series will battle the survivor of the Rain or Shine-San Mig Coffee matchup which the Elasto Painters lead, 2-1.