Tuesday, December 16, 1975

Ramos warns PBA; Crispa, Toyota fined P10,000 each (Dec. 16, 1975)

Philippine Constabulary Chief Fidel Ramos warned the PBA that criminal charges will be filed against players who will take part in violence similar to the Crispa-Toyota brawls that marred the final game of the 1975 PBA All-Philippine Championship.

PBA gets Ramos warning
Crispa, Toyota fined P10,000 each

By Ding Marcelo
Bulletin Today
Published Wednesday December 17, 1975

Maj. Gen. Fidel Ramos, chief of Constabulary and director-general of the national integrated police, warned yesterday that criminal proceedings will be filed against those found responsible for any repetition of the violence that occurred in the recent Crispa-Toyota basketball matches.

The general issued the warning in a letter to Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner Leo Prieto in the wake of the public outcry raised against the fighting that marred the last championship series.

Prieto slapped yesterday a fine of P10,000 each on the Crispa and Toyota teams for failure of their managers and coaches to control their players during the championship game.

Prieto also summoned nine of the players, five of them from Toyota, to a meeting today at his office to show cause why no disciplinary action should be taken against them.

They are Ramon Fernandez, Oscar Rocha, Alberto and Cristino Reynoso, and Joaquin Rojas, Jr. of Toyota; Alberto Guidaben, Rodolfo Soriano, William Adornado, and Philip Cezar of Crispa.

Rocha triggered the first melee by punching Soriano early in the second quarter while Cezar hit Fernandez later in the game to send all members of the teams to a second bench-emptying free-for-all.

Prieto said he will announce the fines and suspensions after he has met with all the players concerned.

“I publicly apologize to all basketball fans for the fights that broke out during the game,” Prieto said. “We shall not leave any stone unturned to ferret out the the culprits. More importantly, we shall devise all means to prevent a recurrence,” the commissioner added.

General Ramos’ letter to Commissioner Prieto follows in full:

“This has reference to the tumultuous affrays and unwarranted violence that have attended the professional basketball contests for sometime now, the latest of which occurred during the Crispa-Toyota match last Sunday.

“This is well known to you and to us in the law enforcement field that there is already a public outcry against ‘basketbrawls’ and this command views them with deep concern because of their adverse efect on law and order. They are also a sad commentary on the lack of individual discipline on the part of some players, team officials, and fans. I am sure that your office likewise views this unfortunate incident with equal concern.

“It is to be noted that at almost every PBA contest, the undermanned Metropolitan Police force detailed for several hours an average of 96 policemen to maintain order therein, a force sufficient to police one municipality, which could have been employed elsewhere for the good of the general public.

“In view of thr foregoing, it is strongly suggested that your association take a firmer hand in ensuring discipline not only among players but also among team officials. Any further repetition of such violent incidents will constrain us to institute criminal proceedings against those responsible therefore.

“We hope that the timely remedial action of your association on this problem would make strong measures unnecessary.”

Copies of General Ramos’ letter were furnished Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile; Gen. Romeo Espino, AFP chief of staff; and Brig. Gen. Prospero Olivas, chief of the Metrocom and directors of the Metropolitan Police Force.

Prieto, together with technical committee members Cesar Corres and Crispin Aldiosa, reviewed the video tapes of the game yesterday and Monday but the commissioner said a verbal account by all players concerned is necessary before he would mete out penalties.

Today’s meeting is set at 10 a.m. at the PBA’s Makati office.

Based on fines meted out by Prieto on similar offenses in the past, the minimum for a player who hits another is P500. The first player in the PBA who was fined for punching was Rocha when he hit Bernard Fabiosa in the first conference. Soriano later struck Fernandez in the nose during the second conference championship series.

Prieto, as in the past, refused to divulge disciplinary action, if ever, to referees who officiated during the game.

Witnesses have complained of too many erratic calls by referees Igmidio Cahanding and Eriberto Cruz which, they said, contributed to the deterioration of the match.

They have asked that they also be fined or suspended and that the disciplinary action be made known to the public.

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