MANILA, Philippines – University of the East's (UE) Nick Abanto is set to serve a one-game suspension as his uncalled foul on Ateneo's Will Navarro last Sunday, October 20 has been upgraded to an unsportsmanlike foul.
Because Abanto was also assessed an unsportsmanlike foul with 2:03 left in the payoff period, the Red Warriors' guard will be suspended in UE's game against Far Eastern University on Sunday, October 27.
"Upon multiple reviews of the incident, we saw that there was intent by Mr. Abanto to hit Mr. Navarro causing him to fall and eventually be carried off the playing court," said UAAP basketball commissioner Jensen Ilagan.
"The action was unprovoked and his intention to hurt was apparent. Therefore, an unsportsmanlike foul shall be assessed against him."
With 6:33 left in the 1st quarter, Abanto swung his left arm towards Navarro's head during a rebounding battle, but no foul was called.
Navarro was subbed out at the 6:22 mark of the opening frame and was brought to the dugout for examination. The Ateneo physical therapists then decided to bring him to the hospital for further tests.
The Ateneo forward was cleared of concussion on Monday, October 21.
When the issue erupted on social media, several UAAP players expressed their dissatisfaction on Abanto's actions and wished Navarro for a speedy recovery.
Look at this thread. These kind of “players” never succeed in basketball. https://t.co/nitMn2uGWK — Dave Ildefonso (@ildavefonso) October 20, 2019
I trust my PT’s and coaches... and it’s cause of plays like this, that I gotta follow concussion protocol. #concussion https://t.co/MF6kIJaeaY — James Matthew Laput (@james_laput) October 21, 2019
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! https://t.co/15CUAKlJb8 — Raffy Verano (@raffyverano) October 21, 2019
Article 4.3 of the UAAP Basketball Rules states: "The Commissioner has the power to impose additional penalties. This power may be exercised to non-calls but involve abhorrent acts in nature including, but not limited to, flagrant unsportsmanlike fouls, and conduct that involves dangerous and dirty tactics and supported by the official video."
With this, Ilagan called on all the student-athletes to be mindful of their actions both on and off the court.
"We call on all student-athletes to always keep in mind the safety and welfare not just of their teammates but also their opponents. Though the spirit of sports is competition, the ultimate goal is to build comradery among everyone," Ilagan stressed. – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.