An exceedingly tense matchup between the hosts of the NCAA Season 99 Seniors Basketball Tournament, Jose Rizal University, and the College of Saint Benilde, ended in controversy on Friday at the Filoil Ecooil Centre.
After a timely basket that put them ahead 83-79 with 1:20 remaining in overtime, courtesy of Benilde’s Mark Sangco in the paint, JL Delos Santos threw an elbow toward the Benilde big man. Subsequently, Sangco was seen entangled with JRU’s Theo Pabico while running back on defense, forcefully pulling Pabico’s arm.
The incident resulted in an unsportsmanlike foul on Delos Santos, accompanied by a double technical foul call assessed to Sangco and Pabico. Having already received an unsportsmanlike foul in the second quarter, Delos Santos was ejected from the game.
Amidst an already physical game that witnessed Benilde’s Chris Flores being stretchered off with a leg injury in the third quarter, emotions ran high on both sides as the game continued.
With JRU’s lead guard sidelined, the incident became a turning point for the Blazers, who went on to outscore the Heavy Bombers 9-5 after the altercation, securing a 93-85 victory.
Following the final whistle, members of the Heavy Bombers reportedly refused to shake hands with Benilde’s staff and players, and head coach Louie Gonzalez declined to comment on the post-game situation.
“I tried to shake hands with some of their players, sinasabihan nila akong ‘dinadaya niyo kami.’
“They didn’t want to shake my hand, I said we’re just competing, paano mong sasabihing dinadaya niyo kami wala naman kaming kinalaman diyan. It takes away from the hardwork. When we lose a game we don’t say those things we just shake hands. We try to respect the game of our colleagues in basketball. ” said Blazers coach Charles Tiu.
JRU and Benilde are no strangers to controversy and physicality in their matchups. Their previous encounter in NCAA Season 98 was marred by the John Amores brawl.
Both teams now hold a 1-1 record to kick off NCAA Season 99.