UNIVERSITY of the East forward Nick Abanto has been slapped with a one-game suspension following his hit on Ateneo's Will Navarro in the two teams' clash last Sunday.
UAAP basketball commissioner Jensen Ilagan has upgraded the non-call to an unsportsmanlike foul after a review by the league's technical group.
The upgraded non-call became Abando's second unsportsmanlike foul for the game after also being hit with one with 2:03 left during a scuffle against Ateneo rookie Geo Chiu, thus leading to a ban.
"Upon multiple reviews of the incident, we saw that there was intent by Mr. Abanto to hit Mr. Navarro that caused him to fall and eventually be carried off the playing court," said Ilagan.
"The action was unprovoked and his intention to hurt was apparent. Therefore, an unsportsmanlike foul shall be assessed against him."
Abanto swung his left forearm and hit Navarro's face while the two were jostling for position in a rebound battle at the 6:33 mark of the first quarter.
That hit immediately floored Navarro and forced the Blue Eagles to take him back to the bench. He was taken to a hospital, where he still remains under observation.
According to Article 4.3 of the UAAP Basketball Rules, "The Commissioner has the power to impose additional penalties. This power may be exercised to non-calls but involve abhorrent acts in nature including, but not limited to, flagrant unsportsmanlike fouls, and conduct that involves dangerous and dirty tactics and supported by the official video."
Ilagan enjoined all student-athletes to be mindful of their actions both on- and off-the-court.
"We call on all student-athletes to always keep in mind the safety and welfare not just of their teammates but also their opponents. Though the spirit of sports is competition, the ultimate goal is to build comradery among everyone," he said.
Abanto will serve his suspension in UE's game against Far Eastern University on Sunday.