La Salle's Arnold Van Opstal (L) goes to the basket against Ateneo's Alfonso Gotladera. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines -- De La Salle University center Arnold Van Opstal evaded suspension for his alleged "punch" against Ateneo counterpart Alfonso Gotladera during their first round game last Sunday, and was instead given by a stern warning by UAAP Commissioner Andy Jao.
It was revealed after the game - a 97-86 Ateneo victory - that Van Opstal caught Gotladera with a forearm to the back of the Blue Eagle's head while jockeying for position in the first quarter.
"All of us decided that we would give Arnold a stern warning, which we will write to him and to his school," Jao told reporters after meeting with Van Opstal ahead of Wednesday's La Salle-National University game.
"I don't even think it was a disqualifying foul because he (Van Opstal) hit him (Gotladera) with this part," Jao said, pointing to the wrist area. "But obviously, it's not a good action for a model like him, a role model like him."
Jao said Van Opstal informed him that he would never willingly hurt Gotladera, who was his classmate in De La Salle before transferring to Ateneo.
"But we told him, it's not the intention but the action," Jao said.
Jao said he also warned Van Opstal that he will be under greater scrutiny from the referees now.
"I was telling him you're a high-profile player in a high-profile team, and you should be careful of your action in the future," said Jao. "Obviously, now you're gonna be under the scrutiny of the referees in every game that you play."
"So anything that you do in the future of a similar nature, you might be ejected quickly, and if you're ejected, you're in for an automatic suspension," he added.
"So I told him, just play the game the way it should be played."
Jao also confirmed that Adamson's Don Trollano will be suspended for one game following his punch on his Steven Cudal of the University of the East in their contest last Saturday.