As the battle for Final Four berths heats up in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament, the collegiate league has seen an increase in ultra-physical plays.
On Sunday, the Ateneo Blue Eagles cruised past the UE Red Warriors, 84-50, for their 12th straight win — but not without a bruise. Midway through the first quarter, UE's Nick Abanto and Ateneo's Will Navarro were fighting for a rebound when the former swung his forearm and struck the latter in the head. No foul was called.
Navarro, who took some time to get up, was taken back to the dugout then to a hospital for examination. Blue Eagles team manager Epok Quimpo shared on Monday that the initial CT scan cleared the forward of a concussion, although "he is still under observation as of the moment."
The UAAP also confirmed that the technical group is looking into Nick's hit, which can result in him getting suspended for the next game if proven it was deliberate.
After a netizen posted a slowed-down version of the incident on Twitter — with the hashtag, "ProtectThePlayers" — UAAP players put their two cents on the issue.
NU star Dave Ildefonso wrote, "Look at this thread. These kind of 'players' never succeed in basketball."
Raffy Verano, whom Navarro supplanted at power forward due to academic problems, wished his ward well.
"I get playing physical is one thing and part of the game but to this extent is beyond any player. Just play the game you love and enjoy it. If it's an accident I'm pretty sure everyone can tell. Prayers up to my son Will!"
DLSU's one-and-done player James Laput also weighed in: "I trust my PT's and coaches... and it's cause of plays like this, that I gotta follow concussion protocol. #concussion."
Ateneo Lady Eagle Dani Ravena retweeted the post, saying, "Disgusting lol."