FAR Eastern University forward Ron Dennison has gone on the defensive after coming under fire on social media for his role in the bench-clearing brawl that marred the Tamaraws' match against UAAP rival La Salle in the 32nd Kadayawan sa Dabao tournament on Friday night.
Dennison was one of the central figures in the melee that erupted late in the third quarter of the preseason match at the Almendras Gym in Davao, shown on one video hitting Kib Montalbo with a punch that sent the La Salle guard crashing to the floor.
Making matters worse was the fact that the Cebuano had already been ejected from the game for incurring an unsportsmanlike foul earlier in the third quarter.
But according to the former University of the Visayas Baby Lancers, there was more to the incident than what is seen from several videos being posted on different social media platforms.
“Ang init ng laro. Sila yung nang-una at bumalik lang ako para tulungan yung mga kakampi ko,” said a clearly seething Dennison in a talk just moments after the match ended.
“Pinagtutulungan na nila yung mga teammates ko. Titingnan ko lang ba? Alangan naman hindi ko sila tulungan, di ba? Eh 'yun pala hinahanap nila, so binigay na rin namin.”
Dennison said there was no reason for the Tamaraws to start a fight.
“Tambak na sila eh. Eh ayaw nilang matanggap na matatalo sila. Bakit kami maghahanap ng away, kami yung lamang? Sa kanila na nga 'yung mga referees pero wala pa rin, kaya naghanap na lang sila ng gulo,” added FEU’s veteran guard.
Organizers stopped the match with FEU leading, 73-59, and declared a double forfeiture because of the brawl, which they claim was the first to mar the tournament in its eight years.
Davao organizers have also suspended all the players from both sides, leaving University of Santo Tomas and the Davao collegiate selection to dispute the championship on Saturday.
At posting time, organizers have also decided they will no longer ask La Salle and FEU to face off in the battle for third place, according to lawyer Francis Calatrava, head of the technical committee.
Neither school or the UAAP has yet to issue an official statement at press time.