MANILA, Philippines -- (2nd UPDATE) The Siquijor Mystics have been expelled from the VisMin Super Cup after their controversial game against the ARQ Builders-Lapu Lapu City on Wednesday afternoon.
Rocky Chan, the chief operating officer of the league, announced the Mystics' expulsion in a press conference Thursday. The players and coaches of the Siquijor team are not allowed to join any other club in the VisMin Super Cup as well.
Certain players of Lapu Lapu City will also be suspended following the strange game that was called off at the half. Lapu Lapu City was ahead, 27-13, at the time. The league initially said that the game was suspended due to a power interruption.
However, officials were suspicious after several players made questionable plays, including blowing a wide-open fastbreak and bricking free throws in a head-scratching manner. One particular viral video showed a player shoot his first free throw with his left hand, then switch to his right for the second free throw. He missed both attempts.
"We hold ourselves and each of our players to a high standard," said Chan. "Thus, we will not tolerate these actions."
The Siquijor players who are now banished from the league are: Joshua Alcober, Ryan Buenafe, Vincent Tangcay, Jan Penaflor, Gene Bellaza, Michael Calomot, Frederick Rodriguez, Jopet Quiro, Isagani Gooc, Miguel Castellano, Juan Aspiras, Peter Buenafe, and Michael Sereno.
Also officially kicked out are head coach Joel Palapal and his coaching staff. Siquijor's games are now erased from the standings; they lost to KCS-Mandaue on opening day before defeating Dumaguete the next day.
The following Lapu Lapu City players have been suspended for the rest of the first round and fined P15,000: Jercules Tangcay, Reed Juntilla, Monbert Arong, Dawn Ochea, and Ferdinand Lusdoc.
Rendell Senining -- the player who switched hands at the free throw line -- is suspended for the rest of the tournament and fined P15,000.
Lapu Lapu head coach Francis Auquico is suspended for the rest of the first round and fined P30,000. His assistants -- Jerry Abuyabor, Alex Cainglet, John Carlo Nuyles, Hamilton Tundag, and Roger Justin Potpot -- were each fined P20,000.
Chan also made it clear that Wednesday's game was an isolated incident.
"This is a clear statement of the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup. Any deliberate actions by any player and coach is not tolerated in this league," said Chan. "If ginagawa n'yo po ito sa ibang liga, huwag n'yong gawin dito sa VisMin Super Cup."
He further clarified that there was indeed a power interruption at the Alcantara Civic Center on Wednesday. However, even before the outage occurred, Chan had already warned the coaches of both teams to play the game the right way.
With players from both squads still making strange plays when the game resumed, Chan decided to stop the contest at the half.
The official further stressed that they are prepared to sanction any other team that will attempt to make similar decisions as the Mystics and ARQ Builders through expulsion and a P1-million fine.
"Itinayo namin ang liga na ito to provide a livelihood to players, coaches, utilities and other people behind. Sana huwag nating sirain because of the sacrifice that we've made is not that easy," Chan said. "Huwag natin babuyin ang basketball na pinakamamahal ng Pinoy."
"We would like to apologize to all our fans, sponsors, and the basketball community for this unfortunate incident," he also said.
The VisMin Cup, backed by Chooks-to-Go, earlier suspended all of its games on Thursday in order to resolve the incident. The tournament will resume on Friday.
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