NLEX coach Yeng Guiao was the recipient of the biggest fine in the post-Chito Narvasa era in the PBA following his involvement in a heated verbal argument with San Miguel guard Chris Ross during their Philippine Cup game on Friday.
The outspoken mentor was penalized P11,000 by league officer in charge Willie Marcial for obscene gesture and use of profane language when he confronted Ross at the sidelines in the final two minutes of the game which the Beermen won, 109-97.
The PBA, however, consulted with witnesses on the confrontation and could not establish that Guiao uttered a racist remark that allegedly sparked the tussle with Ross. The NLEX coach has denied using the 'N' word against the SMB guard, who has kept silent on the issue.
Ross, meanwhile, was fined P2,600 for incurring two technical fouls arising from two separate verbal altercation with Guiao and Alex Mallari that eventually led to his ejection.
The amount was so far the largest to be meted in Marcial’s three weeks in office since taking over as league caretaker following the resignation of Narvasa at the start of the year.
Ross was furious as he engaged Guiao in a shouting incident at the NLEX bench during a dead ball situation in their highly-intense game last week.
As related later by San Miguel coach Leo Austria during the post-game interview, Ross claimed Guiao hollered a racist remark in the heat of their verbal tussle.
The NLEX coach denied making such allegations, but admitted making an obscene gesture. Ross meanwhile, refused to issue any statement on the incident.
While a racist remark meant higher sanction to the offending party, the league, as per consultation with possible witnesses to the incident and in discussion with both parties, couldn’t establish if Guiao did make such a statement
“As a result, the Office of the Commissioner finds no sufficient basis to discuss the matter of an alleged racist remark uttered by coach Guiao,” said the league in a statement. “It may be recalled that in a previous incident, a heavy penalty was imposed for a racist remark that was clearly proven.”
Marcial stressed racism has no place in the PBA.
“It is totally unacceptable in our society and in sports in general. The PBA will not hesitate to act if the evidence so warrants,” he said.
“The PBA, its players and officials are called upon to uphold the highest standard of respect that our youth can look upon as an example,” added Marcial. “Rest assured that any act that is racially derogatory and pejorative in nature will be dealt with sternly by the league.”