CHICAGO - A phantom call. A broken finger. And swats of angry, wayward saliva flying all over the gym.
Just like that, a finals series that was so dull and uninteresting it couldn't wake up a light sleeper is suddenly in the headlines of local sports pages, and the talk of a gossiping town.
It's not exactly the kind of tawdry publicity the PBA wants for its family-oriented product, but in the immortal words of playwright Oscar Wilde, "there is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."
So here I am, poking around this multi-layered drama with the same eagerness as Kume Willie Marcial issuing summons in hopes of laying down the law on suspected agents of malfeasance.
How dare they sully his league.
But wait, could all this kerfuffle be staged to drum up the ratings of a championship round that had, up until Game 3, suffocated us like sleeping pills?
I think not.
Manny V. Pangilinan, whose company owns TNT, is incapable of staging anything fake, especially the outrage of what he called "the worst officiating I've seen."
The jammed finger of Troy Rosario is very real, too. When God created man, digital body parts weren't meant to curl like that. This contortion ain't a miracle, just a painful, stomach-turning orthopedic eyesore.
AND MORE SALACIOUSLY, THERE'S A SPAT ABOUT SPIT.
According to TNT forward Poy Erram, someone at Magnolia did the dirty deed, sending his way moist projectiles that could have traveled with Covid-coated aerosols and droplets.
I've always been a big fan of Erram, a nimble 6-foot-8, 237-pound big with 3-point range. Even at age 32, an international scout told me Poy can be a star in the Japan B.League where talents like him are being coveted like yellowfin tuna.
It must have taken a lot of courage to come out as a victim of saliva abuse.
But Erram erred in not naming the neanderthal who spat at him.
He only resorted to a veiled Instagram post that unfairly put 12 Magnolia players, who played in Game 3, as suspects. T'was a very broad, confusing brush.
And I don't understand it.
Even if Poy may not be necessarily trustful of the long arms of PBA justice, he needs to identify the hooligan so that others won't have to suffer the same wet fate.
Absent that, Erram's lengthy gripes will be just that, empty rants.
Because the PBA can't pursue an investigation when all they got is probable pause.
COACH CHITO SPEAKS. Magnolia head coach resent the suggestion that his Hotshots play dirty and that their penchant for physicality reflects poorly on him.
He told me so in a phone call.
"I find it unfair to say that. I don't want anybody to get physically hurt. We just wanted a good game played by the best players so that fans would fully enjoy watching the championship series."
As for the officiating he tells me he's got a lot of more important matters to worry about things he can't control.
"We didn't blame our Games 1 and 2 defeats to anybody or anything that had transpired. Moving forward, let us continue respecting each other as persons."
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