ALASKA'S bullstrong forward Gabby Espinas has been summoned by PBA commissioner Chito Salud on Thursday to give his side for twice elbowing Meralco sophomore forward Cliff Hodge during the second period of Monday’s knockout game at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Video replays showed that the 6’4” Espinas throwing an elbow at Meralco's Fil-Am forward while the two jockeyed for position under the Bolts’ goal. Espinas then landed another elbow to the face of Hodge as they fell to the floor.
Play was halted during the 4:46 mark of the second period as cooler heads intervened with Alaska holding on to a slim 30-28 lead.
Referees eventually slapped the former Philippine Christian University forward with a flagrant foul penalty one, a call that didn’t sit well with the Meralco bench.
PBA media bureau chief Willy Marcial said the flamboyant Alaska power forward may or may not appear on Thursday since summons for an FFP1 call is usually waivable though Espinas won’t escape a fine.
“Puwede siyang (Espinas) hindi magpunta dahil waivable naman ang (summon for a) flagrant foul 1 pero sa Thursday siya pinapatawag ni commissioner,” Marcial said.
Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said his players are not the real aggressor in the game, claiming Cyrus Baguio was hit twice with a closed fist by Meralco’s speedy guard Paul Artadi during the game.
“Paul Artadi hit Cyrus Baguio twice with a closed fist and they are letting it go,” said Trilo. “But the question is, ‘Are they (referees) gonna change the calls or make it tighter during the game’?”
The Aces, seeded eighth after Monday’s 94-91 do-or-die game victory over the Bolts, are bracing for an all-out war against top-seeded Barangay Ginebra’s the main game of Wednesday’a quarterfinal playoff at the Mall of Asia Arena.