One of the darkest moments in the 98-year history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association of the Philippines happened on Tuesday.
The game was already out of reach, with College of Saint Benilde holding a 71-51 lead over Jose Rizal University with 3:22 left in the game. But John Amores went amok, almost going to the stands to hit a fan before punching every Blazer that came near him in a blind rage.
However, Blazers head coach Charles Tiu had a hunch that Amores was about to erupt.
“Well, I saw him kick my player, of course, si Amores kicked a player. And after that, he’s going after the refs,” Tiu pertaining to Chris Flores getting kicked by Amores.
“I’m not sure what happened. I thought the situation would be diffused, and then all of a sudden, he charged towards our bench; and after that, I’m not so sure what happened anymore.”
In fact, Tiu was already starting to pull out his core players prior to the incident.
“I do know for a fact that we were beating them badly. There’s no way we’d do anything like that. We’re just playing basketball.
“I was taking out some of our best players already to make sure that they won’t get hurt because they were complaining that they were being hit all game long. They were hearing that people from the bench were saying to foul hard,” continued Tiu.
“I just wanted [them] to be safe. In fact, I was about to take out everybody na talaga, put them on the bench. But obviously, that situation happened, unfortunately.”
During his rampage, Amores landed hits on Taine Davis, Mark Sangco, and Jimboy Pasturan.
Amores also tried to attack Miguel Oczon by pushing him after hitting Davis.
“Jimboy got a big black eye. Taine Davis got sucker punched, he didn’t do anything. He was dizzy for a while. Those are the two guys who got hurt. Oczon who wasn’t doing anything, got punched,” Tiu explained.
“Thankfully they’re ok but we’ll take them to the hospital to see if they sustained anything worse.”
A silver lining for Tiu was the restraint that his players showed.
“It’s an unfortunate situation but I can say I’m in a way proud that for the most part, our guys held it together and didn’t fight back. Because to us, we’re just trying to play basketball and our goal is to win a championship. We’re not out there to start fights or hurt people.”
On the other hand, this was not the first incident Amores has figured in.
Last September, Amores also got into a scuffle with University of the Philippines-commit Mark Belmonte in a preseason game.
“It happens. Obviously, the person involved has been in the same situation before, that he punched a UP player in the preseason and broke his face, right?” Tiu said.
“It happens sometimes in basketball. It’s physical, but I don’t think there’s any need to charge across the bench if he was being heckled by somebody. When we play basketball, we get screamed at by fans all game long. A lot of schools are hearing worse things, but you just have to be above it and play, at least for us.”
Tiu, though, does not know what the next move of the school is against Amores.
“Press charges? I don’t know. To be honest, I haven’t spoken to the management about it or to the school. These situations don’t happen too often. So maybe we’ll seek guidance from our school officials on what to do. I can’t speak for that stuff. I don’t want to assume anything. Because I am sorry, I don’t know to be honest,” he said.
“We don’t condone any of these actions. We’ll just wait for whatever the NCAA decides. It’s out of our control now and we have to stick together because we have some aspirations this season, and hopefully we’ll still be there.”
Still, Tiu is just hoping that Amores finds his inner peace.
“I don’t know. I just pray for Amores. Bless his soul.”