Casajeros, Mammie infractions 'not intentional'
MANILA, Philippines – University of the East (UE) sports director Rod Roque insists that the “unsportsmanlike fouls” committed by Red Warriors Charles Mammie and Lord Casajeros during their UAAP game against Far Eastern University (FEU), which led to their suspensions, were “not intentional.”
Mammie and Casajeros were both suspended for two games by UAAP commissioner Chito Loyzaga after a review of their game against the Tamaraws last Sunday, which FEU won, 98-94, in double-overtime.
UE is now appealing the two-game suspension of their players, with Roque and Red Warriors coach Boycie Zamar explaining to Loyzaga their own interpretation of the events.
“We explained our side when we reviewed the video, our interpretation of what we saw on the video, and of course, the Commissioner also explained his own interpretation,” Roque said. “Based on our interpretation, we will file the appeal and we will see what happens. We hope it’s in favor of us, of course.”
In a memorandum addressed to Mammie, Loyzaga said that the UE center should have been assessed an unsportsmanlike foul for “extending (his) foot at the landing area of FEU player Terrence Romeo” during the fourth quarter of their game.
Romeo crashed to the floor and apparently injured his left ankle, although he was able to return to the contest.
“That is his third (unsportsmanlike foul),” Loyzaga explained to reporters. “Bakit dalawa (two-game suspension)? That is his third offense, and based from the UAAP rules, for your first offense, you get a warning, and your second offense, you get a one-game suspension. When you get a third offense, you get a two-game suspension.”
But Roque countered that it was not clear whether Mammie intentionally stuck out his foot in Romeo’s landing area.
“The angle of what was seen on television, it was not clearly seen kasi merong tao doon sa harapan,” said Roque. “Even the commentator said ‘We just don’t know if it’s intentional.’ The commentator said that, and they are already there in front.”
“Of course, on our side, we believe it’s not intentional, the same with Casajeros,” he added.
‘Romeo pushed first’
Casajeros, who was tasked with defending Romeo for long stretches of the game, should have been called for a disqualifying foul in the second quarter, according to Loyzaga.
“During the second quarter, there was a situation where (Casajeros) was following Terrence Romeo, and he was behind Romeo. I saw him, based on the video tape, either there was a punch or the use of an elbow to bring Romeo down,” Loyzaga said.
The Commissioner said the situation reminded him of the Jeoffrey Javillonar-Jeric Teng situation in the first round of the tournament, when NU’s Javillonar slammed into UST’s Teng from behind. Teng injured his shoulder in the collision and was out of action for several games.
“I saw a similar situation, and then I believed that kind of intention deserves a higher penalty. In my personal opinion, if that foul was seen by the referee, it should have been a disqualification foul,” Loyzaga said.
Casajeros was later called for an unsportsmanlike foul during the first overtime for “extending (his) elbow at the face of Romeo.”
“So sa akin, disqualification foul based on the rules of the UAAP is a one-game suspension, and since he had a warning and then he had an unsportsmanlike, so that’s another game. So he deserves not to play two (games),” Loyzaga said of Casajeros.
Roque, however, claimed that Casajeros was only reacting to a push by Romeo.
“From what we saw on the video, it was Romeo who made the first push,” he said. “He (Romeo) pushed him (Casajeros) in the back, and the instinct is for you to remove whatever obstruction is there in your back.”
Roque is hoping that Mammie and Casajeros’ suspensions will be at least downgraded, if not lifted outright.
If their appeal is denied by the UAAP Technical Committee, they are prepared to go all the way to the UAAP Board.
“Of course, ‘yung proseso natin is, Technical Committee first. And then, pag-denied, i-elevate,” he said.
Meanwhile, UE Coach Boycie Zamar stressed that even if the suspensions are not downgraded, the Red Warriors will continue fighting as they try to make it to the Final Four.
“As a coach, wala ka namang gagawin kundi anong natitira mong sundalo, you have to fight until the end,” he said.