PBA commissioner Chito Salud has summoned Marc Pingris for a punch he threw at Meralco defender in their PBA Governors Cup game on Tuesday, raising the specter of a suspension for the San Mig star forward.
Pingris is set to appear before Salud at 3 p.m. on Thursday to air his side on the incident that saw him punch Sena in the back as a form of retaliation after the Meralco big man had - accidentally or not - dug an elbow into Pingris' ribs while setting a pick.
The San Mig bruiser was slapped with a Flagrant Foul 2 for the punch and ejected late in the first half of a match which the Mixers went on to win, 108-90.
PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial told Spin.ph that the commissioner has already reviewed the tape of the incident several times with his technical team and will once again go through the controversial sequence before he meets with Pingris.
“Nakita na ni commissioner yung video. Bukas ipapatawag si Ping, kasi papunta na kami ngayon ng Biñan (Laguna) kasi dun ang game ngayon,” said the amiable PBA official.
Marcial bared that Sena will not be called to the commissioner’s office since the young Meralco forward did not retaliate.
“Hindi naman sumuntok si Sena, kaya hindi na ipapatawag,” said Marcial while encouraging Spin.ph readers to also review the video. [See the Youtube video HERE]
Marcial, however, refused to comment on whether a suspension awaits Pingris, considering this is the second time in eight months that the Pozorrubio, Pangasinan pride has been involved in a fight.
The hard-nosed forward was also among those suspended by Salud when he was involved in a brawl against Globalport’s Kelly Nabong and Marvin Hayes last September 4. San Mig forward Joe Devance was also suspended after the said incident.
However, team officials noted that Pingris' offense this time was less incriminating compared to the Nabong fight.
Contacted for comment, Sena said he’d rather leave it up to the commissioner to decide on the fate of Pingris.
“Bahala na si Commissioner na mag-decide dun. May tape naman, sila Com (Salud) naman nagdedesisyon dun,” said Sena. “Pero syempre, hindi ko ikakaila na mabigat yung ginawa niya na pagsuntok. Syempre, may mga nanonood na bata. Hindi maganda na makita nila.
“Kami professional kami, tapos Gilas player pa siya. Dapat role model. Maayos ang ipakita niya,” said Sena.
Asked why he did not retaliate, Sena said he strived to keep his cool.
“Eh televised eh. Pangit na makita ng mga bata na susuntok pa ako,” he said while maintaining that he never intentionally digged an elbow into Pingris’ chest.
“Hindi ko naman sadya yun. Hindi naman ako nananakit ng bantay ko. Saka mataas respeto ko kay Ping para gawin yun,” he added.
Pingris’ teammate, Mark Barroca, bared the Gilas stalwart has long endured pain in the same rib area which Sena hit - accidentally or not - with an elbow.
“Malakas kasi yung contact, nasaktan talaga si Ping. Hindi siya magagalit kung hindi naman talaga napuruhan,” Barroca said. “Kilala naman natin si Ping, mabait yun.”
“Hindi ko kasi alam kung sadya o ano. Pero nasaktan siya eh. Kita naman sa camera yung tama sa kanya,” he added.
Sena, however, maintained his innocence, saying it was part of the game’s physicality.
“Hindi, hindi ko talaga sadya 'yun. Saka hindi ko naman alam na may injury siya dun sa dibdib niya,” added the 25-year-old big man from San Fernando, La Union.