Barako coach rues attitude of KIA import after tune-up skirmish
MANILA, Philippines – Barako Bull Energy head coach Koy Banal criticized the behavior of new KIA Sorento import PJ Ramos and some of the team's other players after a skirmish between both clubs cancelled their tune-up game on Thursday, January 22, at the Green Meadows basketball court in Quezon City.
The contest was marred by physical fouls and verbal altercations all-game long. But emotions finally reached a boiling point near the end of the third quarter, when a verbal spat between Barako big man Dorian Peña and KIA forward David Webb nearly led to players from both teams exchanging punches.
The tune-up game was stopped with 21.7 seconds left in the third quarter and KIA ahead, 74-59. Speaking to reporters after the contest, Banal didn't hold back from expressing his feelings on the players of KIA whom he felt were perpetrators to why emotions escalated - particularly the Sorento's 7-foot-3 Puerto Rican import.
"Hindi ko lang gusto yung ginagawa ni Ramos and [the others], especially Webb and (JR) Buensuceso," Banal said.
(I didn't like what Ramos and the others were doing, especially Webb and Buensuceso.)
"Binanga ako ni Ramos eh (Ramos bumped me). I was trying to control myself," he said later on.
"Yung attitude niya (his attitude), [he was really taunting our whole bench]."
Banal and Ramos were given double technical fouls early in the tune-up for engaging in a verbal argument. "Sabi nga [sa akin] ni [Assistant] Coach Art (Dela Cruz), ine-FU ako eh," Banal said.
(Assistant Coach Art Dela Cruz told me that Ramos said the 'FU' curse word to me.)
One of Ramos' main taunts was saying, "'Hey, you can't guard me,'" according to Banal, who compared the 7-foot-3 import's attitude to when "Goliath was taunting the Israelites."
"You can't do that in our house," said Banal. "It's like allowing the burglars to get into your house and allow [them] to do everything, anything that [they] want to do."
When asked about the skirmish, Ramos said that KIA was just retaliating to the physical play initiated by Barako.
"You know, it was just a physical game. We were playing clean and they were playing dirty, so we weren't just going to let them take us," the big man said.
"We can't continue letting them just keep hitting us. We just got mad. We mad. We're human. We can feel too. But if they want to play dirty the whole game, we're going to get mad eventually."
The Energy were playing a seven-footer of their own, import Solomon Alabi. Unlike Ramos who says he's "a physical player…. I love when people hit me," Alabi looks like the type of player who prefers not to engage in extra-curricular activities on the court.
"Right now, binibigyan ko muna siya ng parang (I'm still giving him the) benefit of the doubt because he's sore. He's sore," Banal said about his new import. "Off yung timing niya. Kung nakita niyo yung mga tapes niya, yung mga video niya, hindi siya ganon."
(His timing was off. If you've seen his tapes and videos, you'll know he's moving unnaturally.)
As proven by the very physical finals series between the Alaska Aces and San Miguel Beermen that lasted seven games, matchups in the PBA are more brute than most other professional basketball leagues around the world. Even before arriving to the country, Alabi already received such a warning from his head coach.
"Even nung hinihintay namin siya, inaayos niya yung visa niya (Even while we were waiting for him while he fixed his visa), I told him already, 'Hit the gym. The brand of basketball here is so physical,'" Banal said.
Alabi might receive some leeway from his head coach in the meantime, but such a privilege won't be available soon with the Commissioner's Cup already scheduled to open on Tuesday, January 27. Barako Bull opens their campaign on the following day, Wednesday, January 28, against Blackwater Elite.
"Dineretso ko siya (I told him straight): 'If you want to stay, if you want to finish the conference, you have to shape up. [We] can't wait for you forever,'" Banal said.
Banal was also unhappy with how the referees officiated Barako Bull and KIA's tune-up on Thursday. Other than a number of questionable calls, the refs also did a disappointing job of controlling the game's physicality.
"I told them already, 'Hey, guys, ayaw natin magkaaway-away dito. Kailangan you have to do your job,'" Banal recalled his pre-game conversation with the referees.
(I told them already, 'Hey, guys, we don't want any fights here.)
Despite his warning, the officials weren't able to accomplish their task.
"Hindi pwede yung Buensuceso, he got away from those ticky-tack na hindi natatawagan nang foul eh. Eh kaya ginagawa niya nang ginagawa," Banal lamented.
(What Buensuceso did wasn't right. He got away with those ticky-tack fouls that weren't called, which was why he kept repeating it.)
"They're watching tapes [in their free time]," he said about the referees - one of whom is still relatively new to his job, while another has been officiating for years.
"There's no perfect officiation. But hindi natin alam kung ano ang ginagawa nila (But we don't know what they're doing) during their free time. I hope they're also doing their homework," Banal said later on. – Rappler.com