Atoy Co says EAC's John Tayongtong should be banned for life, declared persona non grata
Coach Atoy Co is questioning the decision to hand a five-game suspension to a graduating player who only has two games left to play in the league. Jerome Ascano

MAPUA coach Atoy Co has hit out at the NCAA's decision to hand out a five-game ban on Emilio Aguinaldo College player John Tayongtong, saying the senior guard deserves a heavier punishment for a punch that knocked out Cardinals guard CJ Isit and sparked a bench-clearing brawl.

Speaking during a break in the Cardinals' practice on Wednesday, the PBA great said Tayongtong deserved to be banned for life from any NCAA-related activity and barred from landing jobs such as team official or coach.

“For me, dapat maging persona non grata siya,” Co said. “I think that (five-game suspension) is not enough.”

They Said It!

“For me, dapat maging persona non grata siya. I think (a five-game suspension) is not enough." 

Mapua coach Atoy Co

[See Ugly bench-clearing incident mars NCAA game between EAC, Mapua

The Cardinals coach also found it ridiculous that a graduating player of a team which has only two games left in a losing season would be meted a five game suspension.

“How is he going to serve the three games?” Co stressed, noting that the Generals, sporting a 4-12 win-loss card, are nowhere near a playoff placing and are set for an early vacation.

“Maybe kung mayroon pa siyang playing years, that (suspension) is okay with me, pero graduating na siya.”

“Ang sa akin lang, baka pwedeng baguhin o baka pwedeng pag-aralan ng Mancom na pag last year ka at nanuntok ka, dapat persona non grata ka,” he added. “Ibig sabihin, you cannot attend all NCAA functions and you can’t even be an assistant coach (in the future).”

[See NCAA hands down suspensions on 17 players, three referees]

League officials have explained that in the event a graduating player cannot serve his suspension in full, a corresponding fine will be meted instead.

Co also expressed displeasure that his player Leo Gabo is being blamed for sparking the melee after he pushed Tayongtong in retaliation to the latter appearing to shove Isit earlier in the play.

“Wala naman ako magagawa sa decision ng management committee, pero ang hindi lang ako masaya na si Gabo yung lumalabas na instigator,” the PBA great said.

“Tingin ko hindi, kasi si Gabo, nakita niya ang ginawa ni Tayongtong na siniko si CJ. Syempre bilang kaibigan, nung nakita niyang siniko at hindi tumawag yung referee, ang tendency mo protektahan mo ang kaibigan mo, kaya tinulak niya si Tayongtong.”

[See Mapua coach Atoy Co also said he will sue EAC guard John Tayongtong]

“Nung sinuntok niya (Tayongtong) si CJ, dun lang pumasok ang mga players,” he added. “I love my players for having camaraderie. They defend themselves, pero hindi ko tino-tolerate yung ganung away,” Co said.


Isit and Gabo were absent from practice.

Co said Isit is recovering from a possible fracture on his cheek bone at an undisclosed hospital, while Gabo took a leave of absence.

“Baka nasaktan ang pride niya,” Co said of Gabo. “Sabi niya magpapahinga muna siya.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos