A sports rivalry that’s as steeped in tradition as the one between Ateneo and La Salle can push fans into regrettable displays of emotion.
So communities and leaders of both schools have been constantly reminding their respective camps to not let the magnitude of the UAAP men’s basketball finals get the best of them.
Atenean Serge Gabriel on Wednesday shared on social media a post saying that opposing sides have been respectful of one another in Games 1 and 2 and it should stay that way in Game 3.
Philippine Star columnist Quinito Henson on Wednesday posted on Instagram photos of spectators making obscene gestures.
“Let’s keep our emotions in check, we know it’s an emotional, gut-wrenching series but let’s show some class and school upbringing!” Henson, a La Salle alumnus, wrote.
“Let’s have fun cheering and sometimes jeering but let’s leave out the dirty finger, insults, name-calling and throwing of objects ... let’s show some class as Ateneans and Lasallians.”
On Thursday night, Henson posted a screenshot showing a message from Ruel Kabigting, a deputy administrator for the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority administration who owned up to his “unacceptable behavior.”
Kabigting said: “I deeply regret and sincerely apologize from the heart for my unacceptable behavior and gesture of pointing a dirty finger at some La Salle players and the De La Salle bench during Game 2 . . .”
Henson lauded Kabigting for his “sincerity, humility and courage.”
The atmosphere at a UAAP game becomes more highly charged when Ateneo and La Salle play against each other.
Add the physical nature of the current finals series, and some people tend to get carried away.
In Game 1, La Salle MVP Ben Mbala hit Matt Nieto with an inadvertent elbow, stressing afterward that he didn’t intend to hurt the Ateneo player.
Nieto ended up with a cut above his eye and blood pouring out of the wound as he was sprawled on the floor. Mbala alleged afterward that Nieto’s father threatened and cursed him.
In Game 2, Thirdy Ravena and Kib Montalbo also figured in a couple of physical plays that raised a bit of tension from their respective teammates.
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