SAN Mig Coffee forward Joe Devance faces heavy sanctions for his role in the melee that marred the Mixers' game against Globalport in the PBA Governors Cup on Wednesday night, sources said.
Devance escaped with a technical foul after the fracas that erupted in the third quarter of San Mig's 102-88 win at the Cuneta Astrodome, but league sources said video replays have established that it was his action that fanned the emotions in one of the worst fights seen in the league in years.
The Fil-American forward was the first to react upon seeing free-agent signing Marvin Hayes appear to kick San Mig import Marqus Blakely in the head as he stood up after the two fell to the floor during a rebound battle.
After Devance shoved Hayes to the floor, Globalport rookie Kelly Nabong jumped to the aid of his teammate and ended up exchanging blows with San Mig star Marc Pingris.
(For video and full story of the melee, see Pingris, Nabong face stiff sanctions after trading punches in chaotic PBA game)
For his actions, Devance faces a heavy fine on top of a suspension, sources said.
"Alam naman nating may suspension e. The question now is how long," said a source who declined to be identified. "Definitely, sisilaban ng hurado dyan at ni kume si Devance."
"Tapos na kasi 'yung commotion. Wala na sanang usapan dahil maayos nang tumatayo sina Hayes at Marqus Blakely. Nagpapagpag na eh. Biglang sumulpot si Joe. Ayun, nagkagulo," added the source.
League officials are also set to take into account the fact that Wednesday's fracas was the third altercation involving Devance, who also had a brush-up with Alaska guard Calvin Abueva during a practice game last month and recently against Talk 'N Text guard Pamboy Raymundo.
Devance and Pingris have been summoned to appear before Commissioner Chito Salud at 5 p.m. on Thursday, after Nabong and Hayes give their statements at 3 p.m.
Salud said he has already reviewed the video on Wednesday night, and he will take a second look this afternoon after a board meeting and the meeting with the players involved.
“I will ask the players involved to get their sides, kasi there might be things na hindi nakikita ng opisina ko,” he said. “I have certain questions kasi na I hope they can answer.”
“So I make sure that his version is heard, his side is heard and all sentiments are addressed,” Salud added.
The lawyer PBA chieftain told Spin.ph that a decision will be handed out by Friday.
The PBA normally suspends players involved in fights, and its bylaws mandate at the very leasta P50,000 fine for players who throw a punch during a game.