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    Christian Standhardinger Ginebra Meralco
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    CHRISTIAN Standhardinger was spared from punishment by the PBA after it was determined he didn’t initiate the incident with Franky Johnson that marred the pre-game warmup of Game 2 of the Barangay Ginebra- Meralco Philippine Cup quarterfinal.

    After the technical committee talked separately to the two players, it was established the Meralco Fil-Am instigated the commotion that saw Standhardinger being hit by a basketball thrown by Johnson.

    [See Tenorio, Johnson fined P20K, Caperal P15K by PBA]

    A referee likewise witnessed the incident which took place while players of both teams were doing their pre-game routine at the Filoil EcoOil Arena in San Juan, according to Commissioner Willie Marcial.

    As per witnesses’ account, the two were talking to each other during the warm-ups, with Johnson motioning as if he’s trying to throw the ball to Standhardinger.

    “Akala nung mga nandun magka-close sila kasi mukhang nagbibiruan lang,” said Marcial.

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      To Standhardinger’s surprise, Johnson did throw the ball hard hitting him in the mouth, prompting the Barangay Ginebra big man to charge at Johnson.

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      Cooler heads were quick to separate the two, although the incident didn’t escape the attention of the technical committee headed by deputy commissioner Eric Castro.

      “So before the game pa lang kinausap ko na sila tungkol doon,” said Castro.

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      The episode cost Johnson P20,000 in fine as Marcial announced on Wednesday at halftime of the semifinals opener between Magnolia and TNT.

      [See Alfrancis Chua will be a hands-on Gilas advisor]

      “Sabi ni Christian hindi niya naman kilala si Johnson personally, kaya nagulat siya nung bigla siyang binato ng bola,” said Marcial.

      The technical committee was able to talk to Standhardinger before Game 3 of the quarterfinals on Sunday, but deferred making a decision as it failed to meet Johnson who arrived late at the Mall of Asia Arena due to the traffic congestion around the area.

      It was only on Wednesday when Johnson finally got to air his side on the matter.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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