Premier Volleyball League organizer Sports Vision Management Group Inc. reprimanded import Danijela Dzakovic of Montenegro for hitting BaliPure teammate and libero Jewelle Bermillo during their match with Creamline to end the PVL Reinforced Conference double-round elimination round at the Filoil Flying V Center on Saturday.
“Such [an] uncalled-for act has no place in the league. And though Dani had issued an apology right after the incident, which Bermillo accepted, we view this act as offensive not only to Bermillo, but also to the sensibilities of all stakeholders of the sport and its ever-growing fans,” said Ricky Palou, president of SportsVision, which revived the once dormant sport in 2004 and helped make it what it is today.
Palou, however, stressed that a repetition of the act – by any erring player – will be dealt with more severely.
“We invite these imports to spice up the tournament, primarily for the fans, and at the same time share their expertise with the local players,” said Palou.
“Conversely, we expect them to play and be at their best, game-wise and character-wise.”
The 5-foot-9 Dzakovic hit the diminutive Bermillo on the nape on impulse as BaliPure, in dire need of ending a winless run, trailed 19-24 in the opening frame.
As Creamline’s Jema Galanza poised to wrap up the set with an off-speed hit, Bermillo and Dzakovic both went for the dig, resulting to their collision. In frustration of failing the keep the ball in play and losing the set, Djakovic hit Bermillo in the back of the head.
Shocked, Bermillo was reduced to tears as her contact lens also fell from the impact of the strike.
The incident immediately went viral, infuriating fans on social media.
What followed next, however, was not seen on the internet, according to Palou, pointing to Djakovic’s gesture of profusely apologizing to Bermillo, embracing her and assisting her all the way to their bench.
“I said I’m sorry. I’m so close to her and I love her. I just hugged her since I cannot explain this,” said Djakovic, stressing that emotions got the best of her that even she, herself, was surprised with what she did. “I was not able to control my emotions.”
Bermillo accepted Djakovic’s apology and said she was really shocked for what had happened.
“Miscommunication. Parehas kaming nag-mine tapos parehas namin in-attempt yung bola,” said Bermillo. “Nag-apologize naman siya, sabi niya nadala lang siya sa emosyon niya.
“Sobrang nagulat ako. Tinawanan ko po pero hindi ko napigilan sobrang sakit pero okay lang part ng game.”
BaliPure coach Rommel Abella said that he understood that the unwarranted strike was done in the heat of the moment but didn’t hide his disappointment over his import.
“I’m so disappointed with myself and I want to say sorry to all fans and people who followed us and supported our games,” said Dzakovic, who left Sunday. “I have been playing volleyball for 16 years but this is the first time it happened. I cannot believe I did that.