SAN Mig superstar James Yap pleaded with fans to stop the racist chants directed at Marqus Blakely, saying the import loves the Philippines so much to deserve such rude treatment.
Yap said they were left both appalled and ashamed to hear a group of Petron fans shouting 'monkey chants' directed at Blakely in Game Five of the PBA Governors Cup best-of-seven series.
“Oo, nasaktan talaga kami para kay Marqus nun,” Yap said on Tuesday of the import, who celebrated his birthday on Tuesday. “Kasi ang bait-bait na tao 'nun … tapos biglang sinigawan ng ganun. Below the belt na 'yun.”
“Nagulat talaga kami kasi sino mag-aakala na sisigawan ng ganun si Marqus. Wala naman siyang ginagawang masama. Laro lang naman talaga siya,” added the 32-year-old pride of Escalante, Negros Occidental.
The racist chants have drawn widespread outrage on social media, with players like Chris Ross and Don Allado among those condemning what they said were "terrible" actions from fans.
Araneta Coliseum officer-in charge Atty Allan Gabor said they are also in close coordination with the PBA regarding possible sanctions on fans who make similar chants in future games.
“We will talk to the PBA regarding that (before Game Six) … Same way we are handling reprimands on other cases. Sanctions may be imposed in coordination with the PBA,” said Gabor.
Yap said he hopes the incident won't change Blakely's perception of Filipinos, who the American import admires and adores for their hospitality.
Blakely also likes everything about the country, Yap said, trying out its diverse culinary fare and vowing to eat the local delicacy balut once his second tour of duty with the Mixers is done.
“Kinakain niya lahat ng mga pagkain natin. Gustong-gusto niya,” Yap said. “At kakain siya ng balut. Sinabi na niya sa amin. Tatapusin lang niya muna 'yung finals.”
Yap added: “Natutuwa siya sa mga Pilipino. Kasi masyado raw mapagmahal hindi lang sa basketball kundi maging sa mga bisita.”
The San Mig star said they won't let the racist chants distract them from the task at hand in Game Six.
“Syempre, hindi maapektuhan game namin dun. Pero nasaktan kami para kay Marqus. Kasi napakabait na tao,” he said. “Of all people, tayo pa na mga Pilipinong minahal niya ang mangungutya ng ganun sa kanya.”