CEBU CITY - The message that team manager Gerald Anthony 'Samsam' Gullas relayed to his University of the Visayas (UV) Baby Lancers after their preseason scuffle against Don Bosco apparently fell on deaf ears.
This after the Baby Lancers again found themselves in the middle of a maelstrom after images of one Baby Lancer appearing to put Ateneo de Cebu forward Benedict Chua in a threatening headlock in the middle of a looseball scramble in their match last Sunday, were posted on social media on Monday morning.
While the match won by Ateneo de Cebu, 74-45, wasn't close, tempers still flared as early as the first period which saw UV big man Ivan Maata get ejected for punching Ateneo de Cebu forward Errol Pastor in the nether regions.
Gullas, the Cebu First District’s representative, was present during the match and was clearly displeased upon seeing the image.
“I think you know about the viral picture that's been going around social media about the Ateneo and UV game last night. Rest assured, I will investigate and heads will roll. This is not what we teach our students at UV,” said Gullas.
Just last July, UV was slapped with a fine of P55,000 and 11 of their players were suspended after they got involved in a free-for-all brawl with Don Bosco in a preseason tournament in Cordova.
In that very same tournament, Ateneo de Cebu also alleged that one of their players got punched during a sudden power outage in the middle of the game.
As a result of the team’s shenanigans, Gullas decided not to give the players their customary pair of shoes for the Cesafi competition.
The league’s chief physician, Dr. Timothy Rhoel Dejano, after taking a look at the image, said the action of the UV player, who appears to be promising guard JJ Rosete, was dangerous, citing the case of former PBA player Eugene Tejada who got paralyzed after he was sat on by Mick Pennisi in the middle of a game.
“That action may cause a spinal cord injury to the cervical spine, leading to paralysis from the neck down,” said Dejano, who is fresh off his voluntary work during the Rio Olympics.
Newly-elevated head coach Phil Mercader said that his player’s actions were “unacceptable” and that he already has a penalty in mind for the erring player.
“I will hold my players responsible for their actions. This is totally unacceptable,” said Mercader, who admitted seeing the horror scene unfold before his very eyes.
However, he also said that he has already talked to Rosete about the incident and his player claimed that he was only going for the ball.
"He told me that he initially had control of the ball but (Benedict) Chua dove in and took it away. So the scramble for the ball ended up below Chua and he said he was just trying to get it back,” shared Mercader.
Nevertheless, Mercader said that he will propose a suspension for Rosete to Gullas.
“I told him that we are representing the school and the name of the Gullas family so we shouldn’t play like that. Now I won’t be a hypocrite and say that I wasn’t involved in plays like that when I was a player because I was. But the time for that kind of basketball is through. These days, basketball games are being won by talent.”