Suspensions hit Letran’s bid to keep in step with leaders
As Lyceum and St. Benilde continued to stay in step with each other for the lead, defending champion Letran saw its chances of crowding the two schools on top of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament take a severe hit going into a duel against a storied rival.
Two of the Knights’ vital cogs were suspended Brent Paraiso and Louie Sangalang on Wednesday, two days before the Knights were to battle the San Beda Red Lions in an effort to keep pace with the tournament leaders.
Down on the floor in a mad scramble for the leather, Paraiso suddenly swung his right elbow at the back of Adrian Nocum’s head, knocking the Mapua standout to the ground.
Sangalang, meanwhile, failed to keep his emotions in check, trash-talking an opponent during a dead ball situation in the dying seconds, with victory already on hand for the Knights.
According to NCAA Season 98 commissioner Tonichi Pujante, the infractions of Paraiso and Sangalang merit an automatic one-game suspension per the international rules set by the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) and the NCAA’s own ground rules.
“Upon thorough review, it was established that Paraiso intentionally hit Mapua’s Adrian Nocum at the back of his head with an elbow, which is a deliberate act of violence and not a legitimate basketball play,’’ said Pujante in a statement.
In Sangalang’s case, Pujante said the Letran big man committed a pair of technical fouls of the same nature—baiting and taunting an opponent.
Pirates, Blazers rise
Fiba rules state a player shall be disqualified for the remainder of the game when he is charged with two technical fouls or two unsportsmanlike fouls or one unsportsmanlike and one technical foul.
As for the collegiate league’s rules, a player who is thrown out of the game by the referee for unsportsmanlike conduct in any game will be suspended for one game implemented immediately on the next scheduled team game.
These suspensions levied on Paraiso and Sangalang will likely be a problem for Letran against San Beda and hamper the Knights’ bid to catch the Pirates and the Blazers at the top of the standings.
Lyceum and St. Benilde both notched their fourth wins in five starts on Wednesday.
Enoch Valdez poured nine of his 13 second-half points in the crucial fourth to carry the Pirates to an 82-77 come-from-behind win over the Perpetual Altas.
The College of St. Benilde Blazers recorded a new high of 24 assists in thumping the Arellano Chiefs, 84-72.
Letran is half a game behind both schools, carrying a 3-1 (win-loss) record into Friday’s match against San Beda (2-2).
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