TOP Talk 'N Text governor Ricky Vargas fired back at Robert Non on Monday, accusing the San Miguel Beer official of initimidating game officials and 'conduct unbecoming a governor' amid simmering tension between the two biggest blocs in the pro league.
Non, the current PBA vide chairman who also heads the basketball operations of the SMC organization, had slammed Talk 'N Text coach Jong Uichico for his tirade against the referees after an 81-87 loss to the Beermen on Sunday, saying Uichico's conduct was "unbecoming a coach of his stature."
However, Vargas said it was a case of 'look who's talking.'
Vargas stressed that between Uichico and Non, it is the top San Miguel official whose actions are uncalled for, saying Non unlike most governors regularly sits on the SMB bench during games and "harasses game officials."
“His attitude and his behavior on the court is the one that is uncalled for. He is a governor yet he intimidates the referees, he intimidates the game officials, he goes (inside the court)," Vargas told Spin.ph. "It’s a behavior unbecoming of a governor. He should take a look at himself.
“Nag-re-react lang ako sa statement ni Robert Non. Why is he so sensitive? It’s sort of an over-reaction. He should look at himself rather than point a finger,” Vargas added.
“Governor ka eh. May impluwensya ka. Ikaw ang bumuboto sa mga rules ng liga. Isa ka sa mga nagde-decide sa batas ng liga. Tapos makikita kang nagagalit sa referee, natural may possibility na ma-i-intimidate sa 'yo ang mga game officials,” he said.
“Sa grupo ba namin ( sa MVP camp), may nakikita kayo na governor na umuupo sa bench tapos naninita ng referees? Wala! Kasi sa amin, alam namin kung saan kami dapat lumugar. May delicadeza kami,” added the soft-spoken former PBA chairman.
“We don’t sit on the bench. May nakita ka bang governor ng team namin who sits on the bench? May ibang teams, umuupo ang governor nila. Pero hindi ganun ang demeanor nila,” he said.
Proper decorum states that a governor like Non who is in a position to influence games should refrain from sitting on the bench - or complain about calls by referees, Vargas said.
“Kung governor ka pagagalitan mo yung referee sa gitna ng laro? Di ba naiintimidate yung referee … kasi governor ka eh. Hindi ka lang governor, naging chairman ka pa, vice chairman ka pa (ngayon), anong klaseng ugali yun?” Vargas stressed.
“Natatakot ang referees eh. Siyempre ang mga referees, natatakot sa kabuhayan nila. Yung chairman (ngayon) si Pato (Gregorio), he doesn’t sit on the bench of the team … delicadeza ba. His mere presence somehow threatens the refs.
“May nadinig ka ba na governor na na-technical foul? Wala, kasi he is in the seat of power,” he added.
Vargas called for a more stringent implementation of league rules, insisting that high-ranking team officials who insist on sitting on the bench should be sanctioned like any member of the team.
“Nagtataka nga ako. Hindi sa hindi mo pwedeng i-technical, pero bakit hindi ma-i-apply ang same rules sa mga governors. Water boy nga lang, pwedeng i-technical,” he said.
“Hindi nila magawa 'yun, they (officials) don’t have the guts dahil governor nga siya, vice chairman pa siya tapos former chairman pa siya. Yun ang point ko,” Vargas said.
“Hindi ko sinasabi na ipagbawal na ang mga governors sa bench. Pero I am saying if the governor sits on the bench, he should be subjected to the same rules that the PBA has set for anybody who sits on the bench."
Here's a podcast of interview with Ricky Vargas:
Vargas also picked up the cudgels for Uichico, who alleged that bad calls can be expected in games against the SMB group. What Uichico wanted to zero in was the influence Non wields during games, Vargas added.
“Nag-react lang si Jong with how he (Non) handles himself inside the court. The refs are being intimidated by the governor. Naiintimidate ni Robert ang mga referees,” he said.
“Di ba ini-intimidate ni Robert yujng mga referees, pag dadaan sa kanya kakausapin niya. Hindi ko alam kung ano ang sinasabi niya. Pag may kwan, takbo siya. Andun siya, galit na galit siya. Nakikita ko 'yun. Ikaw hindi mo ba nakikita yun sa mga games?” Vargas said.
“Kitang kita mo naman eh. Everybody knows that. The behavior is unbecoming tapos sasabihin niya na si Jong ang unbecoming. Siya ang unbecoming,” he added.
Here's a video of Robert Non during one game:
Vargas said he didn't break his silence to engage Non and other San Miguel officials in a war of words.
“Kilala niyo naman ako. It’s not my style (to quarrel). I am just pointing out something that is obvious… that everybody sees,” he said. “Pag-official ka ng liga tapos ini-intimidate mo yung referees at officials, don’t you think somehow nakaka-apekto yun? Pati players namin naapektuhan. Governor ka eh,” he said.
“Again, wala akong balak makipagpalitan ng salita sa kanya. May sinabi siya, sinasagot ko lang,” he added.