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    'Luto' heckler escapes penalty as PBA admits no solid evidence

    Nov 24, 2020
    PHOTO: Spin.ph / PBA Images

    SMART CLARK GIGA CITY – With no proof that could pin down the culprit, the PBA is letting the 'luto’ controversy slide with an appeal and a warning.

    Commissioner Willie Marcial on Tuesday reminded Meralco and the rest of the PBA teams to be more careful with what players, officials, and personnel say during games, warning that succeeding violations will be dealt with more sternly.

    “Hindi lang sa Meralco kundi sa lahat ng teams na mag-ingat sila sa mga sinasabi nila. Dahil oras na malaman namin at mahuli namin na sila yun, sigurado bibigyan ko sila ng malaking fine at baka may suspension pa,” said the PBA chief on Tuesday.

    “Sigurado nakatutok na kami ngayon sa kanila.”

    The Meralco team came under fire in the aftermath of the team’s 91-84 loss in Game 3 where a voice in the background was heard saying, ‘Ref, lutung luto to ah,’ during a dead-ball situation early in the fourth quarter.

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    Big man Reynel Hugnatan was shown on screen complaining about something to a game official just a few seconds after the words were uttered, leading netizens to pinpoint him as the offender.

    But the 42-year-old Ilonggo, who was whistled for a personal foul and later charged with a technical for resenting the call, denied that it was him.

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      In the absence of a confession, Marcial admitted the league can't prosecute anyone since there was no video evidence or witness testimony.

      “Wala tayong makuha na ebidensiya. Hindi naman tayo ganun na turu-turo lang or hinala lang. Pangit naman yun,” said Marcial.

      The PBA commissioner summoned Meralco team manager Paolo Trillo at the league satellite office late Monday and briefly discussed the matter.

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        Trillo did admit being warned by the league following the incident and at the same time, was told to be more careful with the actions of his team.

        “Basically, he just told me to police our own ranks,” said the Meralco official when asked about the meeting.

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        Marcial said the discussion centered more on teams being responsible for their actions.

        “Pina-alalahanan ko lang na respetuhin nila yung laro. Respect the game,” said Marcial. “And ito para sa lahat ng teams. Ingatan nila ang mga sasabihin nila kasi [baka] detrimental to the league ang mga yun. Just respect the game.”

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        PHOTO: Spin.ph / PBA Images
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