Brawl mars Mixers win vs B Pier

Photo courtesy of PBA IMAGE/SPORTS5

Photo courtesy of PBA IMAGE/SPORTS5

By Nelson Beltran/The Philippine Star – A rugged rebound play early in the third quarter ignited an ugly free-for-all among San Mig Coffee and Globalport players in a brawl that shocked the Wednesday crowd, constantly replayed on TV and went viral over the internet for the kind of hard-court violence unseen in recent years.

Marcus Blakely dished out a solid all-around game with 25 points, nine rebounds and six assists while James Yap went 3-of-3 from beyond the arc and put in a total of 22 points as the Mixers blasted the Batang Pier, 102-88, in the PBA Governors Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome last night.

The melee erupted after Blakely took defender Marvin Hayes down to the floor after a rebound skirmish then Joe Devance, Globalport’s Kelly Nabong and San Mig’s Marc Pingris jumped into the action.

As Blakely and Hayes got back on their feet, Devance charged into Hayes, shoving the Globalport import. Nabong came to the rescue of his teammate then Pingris joined the fray, unleashing a punch.

Then all hell broke loose.

Nabong and Pingris went mano-a-mano in a wild scuffle stopped only as San Mig coach Tim Cone clung onto the Globalport Fil-Am rookie center – reminiscent of the New York Knicks-Miami Heat fracas in the NBA in the 90s’ with coach Jeff Van Gundy clinging on the leg of Alonzo Mourning.

“I was scared a bit but I’m a coach and I have to break it up,” said Cone. “Luckily, he stumbled over me. He was so strong, I can’t hold him back.”

When the brawl was over, Devance and Hayes were assessed technical fouls for second motion while Pingris and Nabong were ejected for fighting.

Blakely, a key player in the incident taking Hayes down to the floor as they jockeyed for position under the San Mig basket, escaped with just a foul.

The incident overshadowed the win forging a tie between San Mig Coffee and Globalport at 2-3, halfway through the elimination round.

Stiff sanctions are expected as PBA commissioner Chito Salud summoned erring players to his office today.

“It’s lamentable. It’s deplorable. This thing has no place in this league,” said Salud.

San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone said the sorry incident could have been avoided if the referees made a better job to control the rugged actions on the floor.

“They didn’t call the first time Marcus (Blakely) and Marvin (Hayes) fell on the floor. And so it happened the second time and it happened the third time. The fourth time, it broke out,” rued Cone.

“That was an eventful game. I’m worried we won the battle but we lost the war,” said Cone, expecting severe punishments for some of his key players.

The Mixers led by as many as 21 early on but needed to buck the Batang Pier’s fierce, emotional chase in the second half anchored by Markeith Cummings and Gary David.

David, scoring just three points in nine minutes of action in the first half, exploded for 24 in the 22 minutes in the last two quarters.

Barangay Ginebra made it a three-way tie at seventh with San Mig Coffee and Globalport as the Kings, on key second-half runs, walloped the Air21 Express, 106-93, later in the night.

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