‘You degraded the game:’ Players, coaches react to controversial VisMin Cup match
MANILA, Philippines—The travesty surrounding the game between Siquijor and Lapu-Lapu City garnered strong reactions from the basketball community as coaches and players from the PBA and the other leagues condemned the actions of the players involved.
PBA stars Raymond Almazan, Paul Lee, Kiefer Ravena, CJ Perez, and Marc Pingris were among those who chimed in on the bizarre match between the Mystics and Heroes that supposedly abruptly ended due to a “power interruption,” according to the league.
There were many questionable instances in the game including a player changing his shooting hands during free throws, another player blatantly missing an open layup, and the two teams going a combined 3-of-20 from the charity stripe in the first quarter.
“Ang tatanda niyo na, mas matanda pa kayo sa akin! Kahit ‘yung ball boy namin kayang i-shoot ‘yan eh,” posted the 31-year-old Almazan on his Instagram Stories.
“Binaboy niyo ‘yung laro ang daming players na gusto ng trabaho tapos kayo naka live pa and at the same time may mga batang nanonood sa inyo. Siguro naman may mga anak din kayong nanonod ng laro niyo tapos bababuyin niyo lang ‘yong basketball at kung hindi ako nagkakamali semi-pro ‘yan mga kuya.”
“Bilang isang basketball athlete at pro player, napakawalang respeto ng ginawa niyo sa liga niyo at sa mga taong buhay ang basketball!”
(You guys are old enough already, you’re even older than me! Even our ball boys can shoot those. You’re degrading the game. There are so many players who want jobs right now. You guys are shown live with kids watching you play. Maybe you have children of your own and they’re watching you play only for you to disrespect basketball. If I’m not mistaken you are semi-professionals. As a basketball athlete and professional player, what you did was disrespectful to your league and to the people who get their livelihoods from basketball!)
Lee also cited the plight of basketball players who lost their jobs during the pandemic, with most of the league shuttered due to government restrictions, only to see the Mystics and Heroes make a mockery of the sport.
“Binababaoy niyo yung laro,” posted Lee on Instagram. “Madaming player nawalan ng trabaho ngayong pandemic at gustong gustong maglaro. Kayo yung mga pinagpala para makapaglaro tapos ganyan. Hindi ako perfect sa laro pero madaming questionable dito para sa akin.”
(You’re degrading the game. There are so many players who lost their jobs during this pandemic and who want to play the game. You were the ones who were blessed to play and this? I’m not perfect in the game but there were some questionable things here for me.)
Kiefer Ravena said that he hopes children who watched the game would not want to emulate what they saw during the contest especially kids from Mindanao and Visayas whom the league targeted as an audience.
“Sana hindi tularan ng mga bata lalo na sa Visayas at Mindanao kasi para sa kanila ‘yung ligang ‘yan. Para meron silang sarili nalang liga. Nakakatuwa na ganon ang growth ng basketball. Pero kung ganito ang gagawin nila, sana puyat lang sila, kulang sa extra work, masama ang gising o kahit anong dahilan at hindi dahil sa mga comments ng karamihan ng tao,” wrote Ravena.
(I hope the kids, especially from Visayas and Mindanao do not emulate what they saw since [the point of VisMin Super Cup] is for them to have their own league. It’s great to see the growth of basketball. But if this is what the players are going to do–I’m hoping hey’re just tired, didn’t have extra work, just got up on the wrong side of the bed, and not because of what people say.)
Veteran forward Marc Pingris, though, took the sarcastic route in addressing the issue.
Pingris poked fun at the players, one from Siquijor who shouted that he can’t shoot right because the brightly-lit gym was too dark and another from Lapu-Lapu City who kept fixing his hair.
“Mga boss dagdagan niyo ng ilaw kasi!” posted Pingris. “Nanyare?! Kuling ata sa wax ang buhok!”
(Bosses, please add some lights! What happened?! Maybe he didn’t put enough wax on his hair.)
Charles Tiu, deputy at St. Benilde and head coach at Nueva Ecija in the Maharlika Basketball League, also expressed his displeasure of the shenanigans that happened in the Vismin Super Cup game, which just opened last week.
Seeing this video just infuriates me. I mean seriously? Respect the game. Being given a chance to make a living during this pandemic when people are jobless should not be taken for granted !! Video c/o @hoopjunkie_ph pic.twitter.com/8dCaWpqnYq
— Charles Tiu (@charlestiu) April 14, 2021
The league decided to postpone Thursday’s games even as Games and Amusements Board, through chair Baham Mitra, issued a stern warning to those involved in the games and vowed decisive action after the result of its investigation.