COMPARED to his first offense, Cagayan Rising Suns head coach Alvin Pua’s second transgression against a PBA referee was relatively lighter.
While Game 2 of the PBA D-League best-of-three final series between Cagayan and NLEX was ongoing, he surreptitiously tripped and shoved the referee from the sidelines. The referee nearly fell on the floor but quickly regained his balance and went on with his job. Pua had been complaining of a noncall.
Not too many noticed the misdemeanor, and neither did the television cameras record the incident, “but our technical camera got it,” said PBA operations head Rickie Santos, who was in the game played at the San Juan Arena last Tuesday.
For this act of aggression, Pua was slapped a technical and subsequently got ejected from the playing court, midway through the second quarter.
* * *
A day or two after the championship won by the NLEX Road Warriors for a fourth straight time, I called PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial to inquire about sanctions for the hot-headed Cagayan coach.
The incident was not the first in the team’s brief two-conference history in the D-League.
In a preseason match during the Suns’ maiden conference, Pua also lost his temper and openly assaulted a referee, whom he accused of lopsided officiating and arrogance.
The ref was in the act of retaliating—although Pua was much taller and bigger—as he pulled out his belt, but cooler heads rushed to the scene to pacify the two.
From my recollection, Pua was fined P20,000 for his violent act. Willie said he would most likely be assessed an amount somewhere near that of his first offense. The coach had yet to be summoned by the commissioner, according to Willie.
* * *
I was surprised when I called the PBA office again some days later and was told that Pua, son-in-law of the Cagayan team owner, had to pay a P25,000 fine for his latest offense. I asked Rickie Santos why the sanction for a much lighter offense was higher by P5,000.
Apparently, my memory was playing tricks on me.
“Madam, the fine for Pua’s first offense was P50,000 plus a three-game suspension,” Rickie reminded me.
Coaching in the D-League is becoming very expensive for Pua, a former collegiate player. If I were a doctor, I’d recommend that he take a sedative before every game.
* * *
I can hardly wait for the next edition of the Pacific Extreme Combat or PXC.
The other night, I caught a replay of the Harris “The Hitman” Sarmiento-Isaiah “Ice” Ordiz lightweight title showdown and what I couldn’t hear at the venue during the actual fight, I heard on television.
Actually, Harris, who has 60 fights to his name, had easily disposed of his relatively inexperienced opponent in the first round. After the extremely one-sided match, the veteran climbed the cage fence and celebrated by raising his arms stretched to a V.
For the first time, I heard the Hitman challenging the young Mark Streigl, the Filipino-American fighter from Baguio, to a rematch. The scientific Streigl had overpowered Sarmiento, a fighter from the Ilocos and the United States, in less than a minute in a previous tournament.
PXC CEO EJ Calvo recalled that Harris was so enraged he wanted to climb right back in the ring after the loss to challenge Streigl to a return bout.
During the replay, the cameras also focused on Streigl, who was among the audience. He didn’t react to Sarmiento’s angry challenge. He just smiled.