THE Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup upheld the lifetime ban on Siquijor coach Joel Palapal and most of his players at the end of a exhaustive investigation into its dubious match against Lapu Lapu last April 14, sources told SPIN.ph on Saturday.
An investigative panel upheld the decision made by the league's technical committee to ban Palapal and his players permanently from the league after what panel members described as "the worst two quarters of basketball we've seen in the nearly 60 years of collective basketball experience."
VisMin Cup COO Rocky Chan is set to announce the decision anytime.
The ban covers Palapal and the players led by Ryan Buenafe, who, sources said, both denied allegations of game-fixing in separate letters sent to the Games and Amusement Board (GAB), which is doing a separate probe into the incident.
On Friday, GAB chairman Baham Mitra said his agency is building a 'strong case' against those involved in the farcical game, who he vowed to haul to court. Mitra also hinted that those involved will be stripped of their professional licenses.
Two Siquijor players, Miguel Castellano and Michael Sereno, were cleared by the league as the two were not present during the controversial game. A third player, Julius Tangkay, has appealed his case, claiming he didn't play in the April 14 game.
According to sources, Palapal blamed 'injuries and body pains' by the players as well as 'the psychological difficulty' of coping with life in a bubble in Alcantara, Cebu for the poor performance of his team against Lapu Lapu.
However, the VisMin Cup panel made the following conclusions to back up its decision:
* Right from the opening jumpball it was clear that Joel Palapal’s team was going to give the ARQ Builders easy access to the basket.
* The team committed fouls that resulted in free throws awarded to the players of ARQ so the team can rack up more uncontested shots.
* There were instances were players were taking shots at close range and pretended as if it was being contested. But in actuality the ARQ players were just letting them shoot freely.
* In four instances, Joel Palapal’s players allowed the 24 shot clock to run out and would take a shot at the final second.
As for Buenafe, sources said the former Ateneo star claimed he was coping with an injury during his entire stay in the Alcantara bubble. He was asked to produce a medical certificate before his appeal is tackled by the panel, the source added.