Cone says refs partly to blame for brawl
MANILA, Philippines – San Mig coach Tim Cone believes the referees’ decision not to call fouls on key plays was partly to blame for the melee that happened in Wednesday’s Governors Cup game between the Coffee Mixers and the GlobalPort Batang Pier.
A brawl erupted in the third quarter of the game, which started when Marvin Hayes and San Mig import Marqus Blakely crashed to the court. Upon getting up, Joe Devance pushed Hayes, leading GlobalPort’s Kelly Nabong to go after the San Mig forward.
But Nabong wound up pushing Blakely, and Marc Pingris escalated the brawl as he punched Nabong. Pingris and Nabong engaged in a free for all for a few seconds before being separated by teammates and game officials.
In a report that appeared on the PBA website, Cone pointed out that the referees could have prevented the brawl had they called fouls on Hayes and Blakely in the first three times that they crashed to the floor.
“I may get in trouble for this, but I felt the calls they didn’t make when Marvin and Marques fell to the floor for the first three times caused it,” said Cone. “They didn’t have control of the game right then.”
Cone had a hand in stopping the melee as he grabbed Nabong’s leg, causing both men to again fall.
“I was a little scared in the middle of it,” he admitted. “A coach is supposed to go in there and break it up. Luckily, he stumbled over me.”
“I had to do it on the biggest guy on the court. I kept saying, ‘Settle down, Kelly,’ while praying he wouldn’t punch me. He was shouting: ‘Get off me!’” Cone related.
The Coffee Mixers wound up winning the game, 102-88, but Cone is now worried about the sanctions that his players will get after the incident.
Commissioner Chito Salud has summoned Hayes, Devance, Pingris and Nabong to his office on Thursday, and earlier hinted at fines and suspensions for those involved in the melee.
“I’m worried that we might have won the battle but lost the war,” Cone said. “We’ll see what the repercussions are at this point.”