DE La Salle coach Aldin Ayo claimed Far Eastern University played it rough during a tune-up game that was eventually called off in the third quarter - a claim that the Tamaraws camp quickly denied.
Ayo said the Tamaraws played too physical against them during the tune-up match on Thursday night, even going to the extent of deliberately hurting his players.
“’Yung game plan nila eh saktan ‘yung mga bata,” said Ayo on Friday night. “Kung ano ano mga pinagagawa sa lahat ng players ko.”
Ayo claimed FEU guard Monbert Arong punched La Salle’s Jeron Teng at one time during the match.
“Right after punching him, talagang naka-fighting stance eh. Siguro inexpect talaga nila na hindi nila matatapos ‘yung laro. Gusto lang nila ng gulo. Sari sari (ang ginagawa nila). Buong laro,” said Ayo.
Ayo added FEU coach Nash Racela even went to the extent of trash-talking La Salle’s Cameroonian big man Ben Mbala during the match.
“You are the coach tapos nagta-trash talk ka sa players ng opposing teams,” said Ayo, adding he advised his players to “I-absorb niyo ‘yung ginagawa nila, just stay focused. Don’t forget to protect yourselves.”
When pressed for comment, FEU athletic director Mark Molina denied Ayo’s claims.
“First of all, Nash cleansed the FEU program from dirty plays that hounded our previous teams. We won the UAAP championship last year playing hard but clean basketball. We will not tolerate players who will not take the lead of our head coach,” said Molina.
Molina also questioned the act of La Salle to throw passes in the general direction of Racela, with one pass hitting the FEU coach in the shoulder.
The incident forced the Tamaraws to react with FEU assistant coach Eric Gonzales approaching Ayo to have a word with him, before the match was ended.
“The question to ask here is why the DLSU players were making passing errors towards the direction of our head coach,” said Molina.
Molina said the team felt the errant passes were intentional, prompting the team to react.
“(Kib) Montalbo threw the ball twice towards the direction of Nash in the sidelines, and then moments after, (Aljun) Melecio threw the ball and hit his shoulder. The ref even called a technical on Melecio for throwing the ball at Nash.
“Our players reacted and thought they were deliberately throwing the ball at our head coach since it happened three times in a three-minute span,” said Molina.
“Our players are very loyal to Nash and when they saw deliberate attempts to hurt him by DLSU players, we knew we had to stop the game since they might retaliate and it could have turned into something really messy,” Molina said.
Ayo denied that the pass that hit Racela was intentional, adding that it could have been prevented had the FEU coach not sat on the table where the match officials were.
“Nakaupo siya sa ibabaw ng committee table. Alam mo naman ‘yung depensa namin, tapos ‘yung depensa ng kabila, tumatalsik ‘yung bola nila. Kung wala siya doon, hindi mangyayari ‘yun,” said Ayo.
The incident came just a month before the start of Season 79 of the UAAP.