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THE LAST STRAW | Salud slaps lifetime ban on Pua after punching incident

By Ric Arlos

MANILA—Outgoing PBA Commissioner Chito Salud may have just brought out the executioner's ax one last time before former coach Chito Narvasa succeeds him as the league head.

Salud handed a lifetime ban on Cagayan coach Alvin Pua after the latter punched referee Benjie Montero during the team's D-League clash with Livermarin-San Sebastian on Thursday.

An excerpt of the commissioner's official statement made on Friday said:

"There is plainly no room for hotheads and hooligans in basketball, let alone other sports. Mauling a game official can never be justified in any way.

This is the last straw. In the highest interest of sportsmanship and the norms of human decency, the league is hereby imposing a lifetime ban on Coach Pua from all PBA related activities for mauling a referee and for his recalcitrant and incorrigible demeanor.

We view this latest act of Coach Pua to be despicable and offensive to the sensibilities of all sports stakeholders and aficionados. It lays waste to the concept of sportsmanship and is a complete breakdown in a coach's responsibility to do what is right for the sport and the fans."

Salud also said that Pua will also need to pay a PHP500 thousand fine.

The commissioner added that he will elevate the said matter to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and recommend a lifetime ban for Pua in other SBP-sanctioned events.

He also mentioned the league's readiness of helping Montero should the official decide to file a case against the fiery coach, who is not a stranger to such punching incidents in the D-League.

On the other hand, Salud also slapped a PHP20 thousand fine on Cagayan team manager Fred Collado for his comments about the officiating, explaining that the manager's remarks was "deemed inimical and/or prejudicial to the interests of the league."

A report by Naveen Ganglani of Rappler said that Collado and Assistant Coach Mario Bonleon represented Pua, who decided not to show up, when Salud summoned the mentor earlier Friday.