CAGAYAN Valley head coach Alvin Pua faces a stiff penalty, including a possible lifetime ban, for again hitting a referee during a PBA D-League game on Thursday.
Media bureau chief Willie Marcial refused to comment on the controversy pending a thorough review of the videotape which shows Pua punching referee Ben Montero at the back and on the face during the Rising Suns' win over Livermarin on Thursday at the Ynares Arena.
Montero suffered a big cut on the left side of his face and was brought to Medical City for treatment, league officials said.
This marked the third time Pua was involved in a run-in with game officials. He was suspended for three games and fined P50,000 for 'physical contact' with two referees during a D-League game between the Rising Suns and Jumbo Plastic last December.
Before that, Pua was also penalized by the PBA when the Cagayan Valley coach punched a referee during a practice game in 2012.
In the aftermath of that incident, Marcial and league officials issued a warning that Pua will be meted with an outright ban ‘if a similar punching incident happened in an official game.’
The former San Sebastian Stag, who is the husband of Alcala Mayor Criselda Antonio – daughter of Cagayan governor Alvaro Antonio – snubbed the summon of PBA commissioner Chito Salud following that incident.
A league insider said Pua’s attack on game officials have become so alarming that he’s not discounting the possibility of a lifetime ban on the Cagayan Valley coach.
“Madalas nang nangyayari yan eh. Knowing commissioner (Chito) Salud, he will not back down in making tough decisions,” said the source, recalling how the outgoing commissioner banned former Petron import Renaldo Balkman for life after choking teammate Arwind Santos in a Commissioner’s Cup game last year.
“Youn know the commissioner, he will carefully review and evaluate the matter and then consult with his team. Magde-decide yan.”
Marcial said a decision will be made as soon as Salud and his technical team, that includes D-League tournament supervisor Eric Castro, is done with the review of the game tape and an investigation into the incident.
“Wala pa akong comment now. Kasi titignan pa namin ang video then we will consult with the tournament supervisor and the referees present during the game,” said Marcial.
The incident was captured in full detail by cameras set up by the league at the Ynares Sports Arena.
According to witnesses, Pua was seeking clarification from Montero about a certain call when the referee went to the officials' table to slap a warning on the controversial Cagayan coach.
The referee’s move apparently irked Pua who punched Montero in the back and in the face, league officials confirmed.
Cagayan Valley was leading, 47-41, in the Foundation Cup elimination-round game when the incident happened at the final 1:39-minute mark of the second quarter, leading to Pua's ejection.
The Rising Suns went on to win the game, 106-94.