By JONAS TERRADO
Kia’s Eric Camson is both aware of the consequence of his action in a fight with Rain or Shine’s Raymond Almazan and the interest of fans who have welcomed the increased physicality in the PBA Philippine Cup.
Camson and Almazan were ejected Saturday afternoon when they traded elbows during a rebound battle in the second quarter of Kia’s 98-94 victory at the Cuneta Astrodome that left fans entertained.
“May nababasa nga ako sa Facebook na bumalik na talaga yung PBA. Yung dati naman talaga parang boksing nga kung tawagin,” Camson said after the game.
One PBA assistant coach, however, was far from thrilled with the way things transpired.
“People who applaud whenever fights break out in a basketball game are watching the wrong sport,” tweeted Barangay Ginebra San Miguel assistant Richard del Rosario. “Fights usually occur when too much physicality is allowed that players are testing the limits of leniency.”
Del Rosario is one of many PBA personalities who have expressed their different takes on the new philosophy the league implemented in hopes of letting the players brandish their own style of play.
PBA Officer-In-Charge Willie Marcial had directed referees to call it as they see, hoping that it would help lessen the time-consuming measure of reviewing potential flagrant foul calls through video.
Eric Castro, the league’s technical director, insisted that the move is far from the old “no harm, no foul” rule that was popular in the 70s and 80s, adding that players will be given a chance to play their game as long as it is within the rules.
“Sabi ko nga sa mga referees na sabihin sa mga players na hahayahan namin kayong maglaro pero di namin kayo hahayaang magkasakitan, yun yung importante,” said Castro.
The change of directive has resulted in games ending earlier than usual and probably lesser complaints of ticky-tack fouls from coaches and players.
“I love it. I’m an old school guy so you can imagine. No harm, no foul,” said Meralco coach Norman Black, who had his share of rugged battles as an import in the 80’s.
San Miguel’s Chris Ross would perhaps be fit playing in such style, but was a victim of a Michael Miranda kick late in the fourth quarter of the Beermen’s win over the NLEX Road Warriors. The incident likely fueled the eventual verbal exchange between him and coach Yeng Guiao minutes later.
Ross, Miranda, Guiao, Camson and Almazan are expected to get hefty sanctions while the league will probably find measures to make calls as consistent as possible.
At least one player is embracing the physical nature of the ongoing tournament, but admits that some players and taking things too far.
“All for physical play. It’s a man’s game. A man’s league,” tweeted Blackwater guard Mike DiGregorio. “Agree though that some things are out of bounds.”