THE PBA slaps an automatic ejection to any player who throws the ball at an opponent.
The incident occurred following a hard foul by Blackwater’s JP Erram on Phoenix import Eugene Phelps in the second quarter of their match at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Replays showed DiGregorio threw the ball in the general direction of Phelps although it appeared that there was no intention to escalate the situation.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, however, said the league has a hard and fast rule that throwing the ball at an opponent will be punished by an automatic ejection.
“Mahina o malakas [ang bato ng bola, ejected ka] kasi nagti-trigger ng away,” said Marcial.
DiGregorio said he was surprised with the decision of the referees to throw him out of the game, insisting he was not out to escalate the situation.
“I just went over to my teammate after the foul,” said DiGregorio, who added it was his first time to be thrown out in a game.
“I think that should come into account, too, if I ever had any history of being a dirty player. Obviously, they had their mind made up,” said DiGreogrio.
Incidentally, Blackwater was involved in a similar incident when Terrence Romeo of TNT was ejected and fined P20,000 for throwing the ball at Elite import Henry Walker during a Governors’ Cup match last year.