UNIVERSITY of the East is seeking to lift the two-game suspension on Charles Mammie and downgrading to just a game the ban on Lord Casajeros as the school officially filed an appeal before the UAAP technical committee.
In a letter, UE coach Boycie Zamar pointed out Mammie and Casajeros did not intend to hurt Far Eastern University guard Terrence Romeo in separate incidents that led to their two-game suspensions.
“We firmly believe that there was absolutely no harmful intent on either player’s part in these particular instances, and the evidence is clear to the naked eye,” Zamar said.
The suspensions slapped by basketball commissioner Chito Loyzaga will have the pair missing the Warriors’ two important games against National University on Saturday and De La Salle on September 4.
The Recto-based school is currently in the running for a Final Four berth with a 5-4 win-loss record but the absence of Mammie and Casajeros, the team’s best rebounder and defender, respectively, could hurt its bid.
“While we respect the good Commissioner’s own dedication to the league and its rules and regulations, we remain hopeful that our appeals would be considered in the very spirit of fair play and sportsmanship that the UAAP espouses,” he added.
Mammie was sanctioned with his third unsportsmanlike foul after a thorough video review done by the UAAP Commissioner’s Office showed him entering Romeo’s landing spot as the FEU star threw up a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter of the Tamaraws’ classic 98-94 double overtime victory last Sunday.
Also through the game’s video, Casajeros was caught committing his second unsportsmanlike foul with either an elbow or punch at Romeo in the second period, and a third one on yet another elbow to the face of the FEU stalwart in the first overtime.
Zamar, however, stressed Mammie merely tried to avoid a foul and a collision with Romeo in the controversial play.
“Upon seeing that Mammie was coming, Romeo jumped in an attempt to shoot the ball. Mammie then stopped running to stop his own momentum, and thus avoid a serious collision with Romeo," Zamar wrote.
“Mammie remained motionless, even keeping his arms behind his back and trying to avoid contact for fear that a foul might be called against him,” Zamar added.
In the case of Casajeros, UE is appealing the third unsportsmanlike foul on the grounds that the supposed elbow to Romeo's face was "purely an instinctive reaction" since it was caused by the FEU player’s movement when they were running side-by-side with each other.
“Romeo then pushed Casajeros in the back using his right hand; in instinctive reaction, Casajeros moved his left arm to shove off Romeo’s own arm.
“It so happened that Casajeros’ left arm then hit Romeo in the cheek. As clearly seen in the video, Casajeros’ move was merely a natural consequence of Romeo’s own,” said Zamar.
Meanwhile, the UAAP technical committee chaired by Fr. Ermito de Sagun of University of Santo Tomas, is expected to discuss the appeal either on Friday or Saturday morning, the same day UE faces NU at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.