BEAU Belga has been slapped with fines totalling P70,000 for what the PBA Commisisoner's Office termed as 'unsportsmanlike and offensive' behavior as well as three incidents in which non-calls or regular fouls were upgraded to flagrant fouls against the Rain or Shine banger after a video review.
The wide-bodied Belga was initially slapped with a P40,000 penalty for 'taunting, provoking, and scoffing at the fans with the use of a dirty finger as well as offensive and physical gestures' during and after the Elasto Painters' 82-79 win over Barangay Ginebra on Sunday night.
His teammate Raymond Almazan was fined P40,000 for the same offense after admitting that he had indeed shown a dirty finger to Ginebra fans at the Cuneta Astrodome during the emotionally charged game.
On the other hand, Ginebra veteran Dorian Pena, who jarred the reed-thin Almazan with a heavy pick, was fined P10,000 for the flagrant penalty 1 slapped on him by the referees.
However, three incidents in which Belga fouls escaped the eyes of the referees were spotted by league officials upon a review of the game video. They slapped flagrant fouls on the Rain or Shine bruiser in all three plays - calls which cost Belga another P10,000 each.
One play had Belga planting a forearm on Mark Caguioa during a rebound scamble; another had him 'intentionally landing' on pint-sized guard Eman Monfort, and the third saw a Belga elbow graze the face of Chris Ellis.
Commissioner Chito Salud admitted the referees were 'reprimanded' for missing all three calls.
"The foregoing flagrant fouls were missed by the game officials. The referees were reprimanded and directed to be more vigilant of dirty and hurtful plays which may escape attention in real time by reviewing replays to enable them to better determine possible flagrant contact," Salud said.
In explaining the heavy penalties on Belga and Almazan, Salud said: "Let it be stressed that the fans are the lifeblood of the league. There is absolutely no excuse for any player to engage the fans in a hostile and provocative manner.
"While there may be in fact some unruly and rowdy spectators, these are exceptional instances. Players are thus admonished to maintain professional decorum under these occasional circumstances and allow league and venue officials to deal with any untoward situation involving the crowd."