Letran coach Caloy Garcia. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – NCAA Commissioner Arturo "Bai" Cristobal sanctioned Letran head coach Caloy Garcia and guard Mark Cruz, along with an erring referee, following their unsportsmanlike conduct in Jose Rizal University's 69-60 win over the Knights last Monday.
Cristobal suspended Garcia for one game after the coach received two technical fouls, leading to his ejection. Letran co-captain Cruz, meanwhile, was suspended after the guard charged into referee Ian Borbe right after the game ended.
They will serve their suspensions in Letran's next game, against the College of St. Benilde on Monday next week.
Other Letran players – co-captain Kevin Racal, Jamil Gabawan, Rey Publico, and Rey Nambatac – were also warned for crossing over to the game officials prior to the league's 30-minute cooling period.
It was the referee Borbe who got the severest sanction, however, as he has been banned for three games and will be re-evaluated upon his return. Worse, he will serve his suspension in the UAAP, where the same set of referees is being utilized.
"We're just following the NCAA house rules concerning sanctions to coaches and players displaying unsportsmanlike conduct by provocative gesture meant to ignite a brawl or a fight," said Cristobal.
"As for our referee, who admitted to responding with profane language, he will also be punished with suspensions in both the NCAA and the UAAP, and will be re-evaluated on his return," he added.
Cristobal will also recommend to the NCAA Management Committee the banning of a Letran fan who threw debris on Borbe as the referee was leaving the court.
"As per NCAA rule, a fan who commits such act will be automatically denied entry the rest of the season," said Cristobal. "The problem though is we're still in the process of identifying the fan that we will ban."
This is the third time that Cristobal has handed out suspensions after he sacked San Beda's Kyle Pascual and a high school player just last week.
Reports said Letran is planning to appeal the commissioner's decision.
Garcia has been complaining about Borbe since last year, accusing the referee of bearing a grudge against him and his team. He also accused Borbe of threatening to punch Cruz during their altercation.