THIS is one PBA Finals that’s proving too costly for the B-Meg franchise.
The P20,000 fine slapped on forward Marc Pingris was just the latest penalty handed the Llamados in their ongoing Governors Cup Finals against Rain or Shine, which lead the series 3-1.
In the first four games alone, a total of P58,400 had been slapped on team members alone, foremost of whom is coach Tim Cone who bore the brunt of the charges with P23,400 for throwing a monobloc chair into center court of the Araneta Coliseum during the series opener.
Pingris managed to escape suspension after his flagrant foul penalty 1 committed on Rain or Shine’s Ryan Arana was upgraded to flagrant foul penalty 2 – an infraction that previously merited an outright one-game ban.
Nonetheless, Pingris is still not suiting up for Wednesday’s Game Five of the Finals owing to severe neck pain caused by Arana's hit, according to a tweet by Noli Eala, the sports director of San Miguel Corp.
“Too bad, Ping can’t play tomorrow. Severe neck pain due to Arana hit,” Eala tweeted.
Cone was initially fined P3,400 shortly after Game one for incurring his fourth technical foul in the season-ending conference, and an additional P20,000 for the chair-throwing incident, which Commissioner Chito Salud said was a “serious disrespect for the game that could be misinterpreted as inciting further chaos and outburst from the fans.”
Scratches on the Big Dome playing court caused by the chair-throwing incident also led Araneta management to charge the PBA P15,000 for its repair, a bill which media bureau chief Willie Marcial said the league will charge to B-Meg.
And now it’s Pingris' turn.
The active power-forward was the recipient of a heavy fine after nearly coming to blows with Arana in Sunday’s Game Four won by the Elasto Painters, 94-89.
The two got entangled following a rebound play with seven minutes left in the game. Arana’s momentum appeared to have carried his arm to hit Pingris in the nape, prompting the B-Meg forward to retaliate by trying to head-butt the Rain or Shine guard, before pushing him full force with a clenched fist.
Arana was left with a bloodied mouth while Pingris complained of stiffness in his neck. The Rain or Shine veteran guard was fined P1,000 for second motion.
Cone opted not play Pingris for the rest of the game.
“I didn’t see it. I didn’t see what happened,” said Cone of the incident. “But certainly losing Ping the last five or six minutes was huge for us.”