Farce costs Pals P.3M in fines, suspension
- Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran () - August 16, 2003 - 12:00am
Talk N Text interim head coach Ariel Vanguardia was suspended for five games and fined P50,000 and the whole team slapped a fine of P250,000 for the farce of an endgame they pulled in the closing seconds of their match against the Red Bull Barako Thunder Wednesday.

PBA commissioner Noli Eala said he could have imposed a stiffer punitive action had the Phone Pals not admitted any wrongdoing and the Talk N Text ballclub assured the league it didn’t tolerate the unsportsmanlike gesture of the team.

"The players collectively admitted there was something wrong with what they did. Nevertheless, we were convinced despite manifestations of their good intention, this thing can’t be tolerated," said Eala.

"We can’t tolerate this unsportsmanlike gesture. Let this serve as a firm and a strong reminder to all the teams, coaches, players and officials of their responsibilities not only to their respective interest, not only to their league and our partners but to the public which has put the PBA where it is today," Eala added.

The commissioner maintained that Talk N Text made a mockery of the game rule when the Phone Pals shot at their opponent’s basket in an attempt to force overtime and salvage their bid for the Samsung PBA Invitational Cup Final Four versus the Thunder Wednesday.

The Phone Pals won the game, 88-87, but missed the semis with an inferior quotient versus the Thunder and the FedEx Express.

Talk N Text needed to win by at least eight points to gain entry into the next round.

"The deliberate and calculated act of Talk N Text of not only violating normal game rules and making a mockery of the game resulted in a public interest not being served and the credibility of the league being seriously compromised," said Eala.
"While we recognize that coaches and players play their games to achieve individual and team interest, such interest must never subjugate the interest of the public which the league has sworn to hold as paramount above all else," Eala added.

Vanguardia will serve his five-game suspension in the third conference.

The acting Talk N Text head coach refused to make a statement, saying he hoped he could appeal Eala’s decision.

The sanction was the toughest ever imposed in such cases.

Seven-Up and Swift were fined by then commissioner Rey Marquez for similar action in a non-bearing game in the 1992 third conference. The two teams squared off for the crown while Ginebra was relegated to the sidelines as the Uncolas topped the Mighty Meaties, 156-154, in that contest.

ARIEL VANGUARDIA EALA INVITATIONAL CUP FINAL FOUR MIGHTY MEATIES NOLI EALA PHONE PALS RED BULL BARAKO THUNDER WEDNESDAY REY MARQUEZ SEVEN-UP AND SWIFT TALK N TEXT
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