MANILA – Wynne Arboleda of the Burger King (BK) Whoppers has been suspended without pay for the rest of the 2009-2010 season, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) announced Monday.
Arboleda, who attacked a fan in last Friday’s game against Smart-Gilas Pilipinas, will reporteldy be losing about P2.7 million because he was barred from receiving his salary from BK.
PBA Commissioner Sonny Barrios said that Arboleda asked for his forgiveness when they met Monday morning.
According to Barrios, Arboleda said he was ready to face the consequences of his action which was reportedly triggered by a fan’s curses.
“I told him so unfortunately for us, Winnie in a situation where we are, walang acceptable reason once you cross the line of hurting fans, there’s no acceptable reason, and he accepts that fact,” Barrios told ABS-CBN News.
The PBA Commissioner, in addition, also addressed the league’s spectators: “We would like to encourage our fans to be more responsible when they watch games, let’s cheer not jeer.”
BK won over Smart Gilas, 115-105. Such victory, however, was marred by the incident involving Arboleda and a fan.
When the first quarter of the BK and Smart Gilas-Pilipinas game ended, it seemed like there was a turnaround as the game became more physical on the Whoppers’ side.
In just six minutes in the second quarter, four flagrant fouls were called on BK.
The first was courtesy of Wynne Arboleda after hitting JV Casio. Gary David, meantime, elbowed Mark Barroca, according to the referee.
Ronnie Magtias also reportedly elbowed Chris Tiu while Arboleda committed another flagrant foul on Mac Baracael.
To everyone’s surprise, Arboleda went to a courtside fan instead of going to Baracael. Alain Katigbak, the fan attacked by Arboleda, was said to have cursed at the Whopper during the game.
This prompted Arboleda to kick him and punch him 4 times. Players, referees and Araneta Center security were not able to immediately halt the incident.
Arboleda was ejected from the game because of the two flagrant fouls. He allegedly even tried to go after Katigbak when he was being escorted out of the Araneta Coliseum.
The day after, Arboleda issued a formal apology, saying sorry to his team, the PBA, the fans, and most especially, to Katigbak.
“I take full responsibility and express regret over the unfortunate incident that involved me and a PBA fan during the Burger King- SMART Gilas game on 16 October 2009,” said Arboleda in his apology.
“My action was provoked by the incessant name-calling and cursing uttered by the said fan particularly to me each time I was within hearing distance.”
He added that he lost his composure, much to his regret. “The continuous barrage of invectives and insults towards my person, my family and my team were just too difficult to withstand,” he explained.
He then asked the PBA to do something about the “provocations and invectives directed towards specific players” by fans during game time.
“There should be ways devised to appeal to both players and the public as to the proper decorum and respect we should accord each other.”
Katigbak, for his part, said that he is ready to file a case of physical injuries against the Whopper.
“Sa totoo lang, nang-asar ang kliyente ko, sinabihan nya matanda na sila at wag na sila manakit ng bata, pero hindi siya nag-mura,” said Katigbak’s lawyer, Atty. Angelo Agcaoili.
“Bukas sasamapahan na namin ng kaso si Aboleda sa korte,” the lawyer revealed.
He said his client also wants a harsher punishment for Arboleda, that of banning the Whopper from the PBA for life.
Players vs fans
Last Friday’s incident was not the first time that a PBA player and a fan got into each other’s nerves.
Just last season, Marlou Aquino got into an argument with a fan. The word war did not lead into a tussle.
Danny Ildefonso and Marc Pingris, meanwhile, attempted to quarrel with a fan but a clash did not ensue. They were fined and drew a game suspension as well.
Meanwhile, the PBA and Araneta Coliseum have reportedly reinforced the rules on the players’ conduct as well as the security of fans and players. – With reports from The Philippine Star, ANC Dateline Philippines and TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN News