Rey Madrid. File Photo.
MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines (UP) assistant coach Ramil Cruz is hopeful that head coach Rey Madrid's suspension can be reduced to one game, making him available for the Fighting Maroons' game on Saturday.
Madrid was not even at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday for UP's 74-53 loss to La Salle, as he was not allowed to enter the venue while serving the first of a two-game suspension following the accusations of point-shaving he hurled at game officials.
UP has already appealed the sanction, believing it to be "too harsh," and Cruz is hopeful that the Commissioner will grant their request.
"Inappeal na namin na kahit one game lang sana," Cruz told reporters after their loss. "So he'll be back on Saturday."
The Fighting Maroons will play the Adamson Falcons on Saturday in a match-up of the two winless teams.
Jao said he received a copy of UP's appeal Wednesday morning, in which UP Board representative Ronualdo Dizer pointed out that it was Madrid's first infraction.
The commissioner, however, countered that although this was the case, the repercussions of his accusation were serious.
"The letter, I felt, they do not realize the gravity of what they did," Jao said.
Jao said he will review the appeal and may respond to the appeal Thursday.
It is also unlikely that the appeal will be elevated to the UAAP Board, since Jao had been given the power to make decisions prior to the start of the season.
"I think they (the UAAP Board) wanted to alleviate themselves from having the pressure of things like this, and just leave it to the commissioner," Jao said.
At the same time, Jao commended the Maroons for playing through the controversy.
"They're good boys. The players, they tried very hard today," said Jao, explaining that he was able to talk to UP's Mark Juruena and Henry Asilum before the game. "I told them, just play. We will support you. You really want to play the game, and we will let you play the game."