Chot Reyes sent in third-string rookie point guard Pamboy Raymundo late in Talk ‘N Text’s Game Four victory over B-MEG with the hope of ending the game quietly.
That wasn’t quite what happened.
With just 1:47 left in the game and Talk ‘N Text comfortably ahead, 96-81, Raymundo flew in with an elbow to B-MEG point guard Josh Urbiztondo, leading to tempers flaring. During the scrum, Joe Devance threw the ball at Raymundo, who responded by hitting the Llamados forward at the back of his head.
After several minutes, officials called two penalty one flagrant fouls on Raymundo, leading to his ejection. Devance was also called for a flagrant foul penalty two and was also sent off, while Urbiztondo was called for a technical foul.
During the lull, Raymundo was shown on the arena’s big screen, leading the pro-B-MEG crowd to rain down boos on Raymundo. Some 18,696 fans attended the game, the biggest crowd this season for the PBA.
Moments after the game, B-MEG coach Tim Cone was still steaming from the Raymundo incident.
“I’m upset with the fact that Raymundo got off so lightly with what he did. I know Chot, and that’s not his intention to send somebody out to start a fight with a better player,” said Cone.
“But you have to have those guys under control. There’s no excuse for Raymundo to come out on the floor and in his first possession, throw an elbow and hit someone on the head. If he’s going to do that, he shouldn’t be on someone’s bench.”
B-MEG guard Jonas Villanueva wasn’t quite as diplomatic. In a post on his Twitter account, he alluded to Raymundo’s actions.
“Don’t know anyone who, with the game already over, one minute left, would come into the game and try to hurt somebody. Who would do that? Unless someone asked him to,” said Villanueva.
The Raymundo scuffle led to Cone exchanging words with members of the Talk ‘N Text coaching staff.
“Parang nagkasagutan yata sila ni Coach Nash,” said Reyes. “I don’t know what they talked about, hindi ko pa nakakausap si Coach Nash. But that’s just unfortunate that an incident like that happened in the end game when basically the outcome was decided already.”
“But it’s the finals. Emotions are high. Everybody’s on edge. So it’s just going to be dependent on which team will be able to keep its composure, and keep its cool, and its focus, through all the turbulence that accompanies any kind of finals series.”
Cone, meanwhile, gave credit to Talk ‘N Text for the win.
“Bottomline was they came out and played with a high level of desperation that we didn’t match and respond to throughout the game. I need to do a better job of preparing our guys of playing in the finals, I did a horrible job tonight,” he said.
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