Basketball or basketbrawl?
With his team facing elimination, Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters coach Chot Reyes expressed his frustration over what he calls “dirty plays” in their semifinal series against Barako Bull.
“We’re basketball players, not a bunch of brawlers or cheap short artists. We’ll continue playing the game the way it should be played,” Reyes told InterAKTV.
“If that’s not enough to get us to the finals, so be it. It’s not worth threatening the careers of our players.”
In Game One of the series, Kelly Williams suffered a fractured cheekbone after getting an elbow from Ronald Tubid. Import Donnell Harvey, meanwhile, suffered a broken nose in Game Two, and had two cuts on his forehead in Game Three.
But Barako Bull coach Junel Baculi defended his players, saying that they were merely being physical and did not cross the line to being dirty.
“This is the playoffs, so expect a physical game. If you’ve watched the NBA playoffs, it’s more physical there,” he said.
He added that for the most part, the supposed rough play from Barako Bull in the series has been incidental, not intentional. Citing the case of Tubid’s elbow on Williams, the coach said that his player was merely driving to the hoop on the play and did not intend to hit his opponent.
Baculi also fired back at Talk ‘N Text, saying that some players on the Tropang Texters side are the ones out to intentionally hurt their opponents. He cited in particular Ranidel de Ocampo, who he says has been out to bang up Barako Bull import Gabe Freeman.
Down 2-1 in the series, defending champion Talk ‘N Text has uncharacteristically seen its top players lose their cool. Team captain Jimmy Alapag was ejected in Game Three after a running tiff with Tubid, in a matchup marred by physical play, trash talking, and cheap shots. Alapag was called for his first technical foul for elbowing Tubid after getting fouled. In a later play, Alapag received his second technical foul by brushing his arms up against Tubid, again after another foul call.
Reyes, for his part, said that his team needs to dig deep to stay alive.
“We’ll just have to play through their roughness and dirty play. We need to learn the art of cheap shot ala [Ronald] Tubid and [Mick] Pennisi or kiss our finals hopes goodbye,” he said.
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