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Melee involving Pablo Lucas mars NBL playoffs


Iriga City Oragons head coach Pablo Lucas has been slapped with a lifetime ban by the National Basketball League (NBL) for punching a spectator during Sunday’s quarterfinal match against Taguig at the Hagonoy Sports Complex.

Lucas was sanctioned by the NBL following his involvement in a melee at the stands in the fourth quarter of the match between the Oragons and the Generals.

During a timeout in the 3:49 mark of the fourth quarter and the Generals ahead, 72-67, Lucas was caught on videos punching a spectator while a commotion in the bleachers was going on.

The NBL also ordered the resumption of the game on Thursday, 6 p.m. at the Philippine Army Gym in a closed-door match to determine the winner. Taguig has a twice-to-beat advantage over Iriga City in its quarterfinal series, the winner of which will be facing the reigning champion Paranaque Aces.

Lucas will not be allowed to coach in the resumption of the match.

“This is a clear violation of existing rules that coaches are not allowed to leave the playing court without distinct authorization from NBL officials. Violence, is in no way tolerated by our organization,” said the league in a memo signed by NBL chairman/president Celso Mercado following deliberation of the issue.

“Effective immediately, Head Coach Pablo Lucas is hereby slapped with a lifetime ban on all NBL related games and activities. He shall also not be permitted any access to venues sanctioned by NBL,” the league added.

The incident overshadowed Laguna’s 98-87 win over CamSur Express that clinched a semis berth for the Pistons.

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Mark Daquis had 24 points and 13 rebounds, while Alexis Hilario and Kiervin Revadavia had 16 and 14 points each for the Pistons, who arranged a best-of-three semifinal series against top seed Pampanga Delta.

After a 47-36 halftime lead, the Pistons, holding a twice-to-beat advantage in the series, increased the gap to 19 points after Hilario hit a three-pointer for a 65-46 advantage in the third period.

The Express were able to cut the deficit to four points, but Raymart Amil hit a jumper and Hilario converted a three as the Pistons regained control of the match, 95-86.

The Pistons advanced into the semifinals after finishing third seed in the elimination round with a 10-4 win-loss record to gain a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinal.

AJ Margallo had 16 points for the Express, who fell short in their bid to force a knockout quarterfinal match.

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