San Sebastian defeated San Beda, 87-72, Monday but not before both teams engaged in a bench-clearing incident at the PCCL National Championship semifinals at the Fil Oil-Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Stags rolled in the second quarter and led the rest of the way to kickstart their campaign in the final four, a round-robin tournament to determine the national champion.
But emotions ran high when eight players were ejected led by Calvin Abueva and Kyle Pascual, who figured in a scuffle on a rebound play with two minutes and 10 seconds remaining in the game.
San Sebastian’s AJ Vitug, Michael Miranda, Krushev Ferrer and Joshua Grilli and San Beda’s Ryusei Koga and Michael Sorela were also ejected in the match for leaving their respective benches.
Security personnel quickly came in to separate players from the two teams to prevent any further untoward incident.
The game was days removed from an incident between both schools when San Sebastian women’s volleyball coach Roger Gorayeb was punched in the eye during a melee with the San Beda men’s basketball team last week during the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament.
Aside from security, policemen were also deployed in the venue, as requested by league organizers, to avoid any incident from happening in and out of the playing court.
“It’s highly-emotional not just for the players but for the community,” said San Sebastian coach Topex Robinson. “Same goes I guess for San Beda and we have to respect their side also.”
“I told my players that we are basketball players and we are here to win basketball games. We are not boxers or UFC fighters so I tried to avoid that altercation but I can only do much.”
Robinson also apologized for the melee. “It was also on me that I wasn’t able to control my players,” he added.
San Sebastian got a measure of revenge after being swept in the NCAA finals by San Beda, which played without Garvo Lanete, Jake Pascual, AJ Semerad and David Semerad for various reasons.
“It’s agood to win after the NCAA finals. But we can’t discredit the hearts of the players who were left. San Beda gave us a good fight despite missing several of their key players,” Robinson said.
Ian Sangalang tallied 20 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and a block while Abueva had 19 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Ronald Pascual had 15 points before leaving the game with an injured left knee.
Rome Dela Rosa had 13 points while Melo Lim added 10 for the Red Lions. Dave Marcelo had seven points and seven blocks for San Beda.