MANILA, Philippines – The NCAA has placed three of its referees who officiated the infamous game between the CSB Blazers and JRU Heavy Bombers under “preventive suspension,” according to Management Committee (Mancom) adhoc investigation head Herc Callanta of Lyceum.
“That’s automatic. If there’s an unfortunate incident that takes place, there’s an automatic preventive suspension. Until they’re cleared, they’re not allowed to officiate,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday, November 16, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre.
The referees in question – Anthony Sulit, Dennis Escaros, and Antonio Baguion, Jr. – have not suited up since former JRU player John Amores punched four CSB players and injured two in a game-ending assault last November 8.
As of posting, the league is still undergoing a full investigation on one of the worst melees in recent memory that caused Amores to be kicked off the Heavy Bombers team and 13 other players from both CSB and JRU to serve at least a one-game suspension.
“I don’t want to preempt the results of the investigation because we’re still going to go through all the footages from different angles as well as accounts from both sides, JRU and St. Benilde,” Callanta continued.
“As far as the players are concerned, that’s it. But the peripherals, the security, referees, and officiating, those are still forthcoming.”
Some of those measures included beefing up bouncer presence on the court and near the locker rooms, plus deploying police officers by the bleachers near fans.
Last Friday, November 11, when CSB and JRU both returned to the FilOil Arena to face different opponents, extra bouncers were deployed between both teams’ locker rooms, which due to a scheduling coincidence, were placed right next to each other.
On Wednesday afternoon, as the San Beda Red Lions took on longtime rival Letran Knights, referees and bouncers were also quick to diffuse multiple instances of on-court tension, while the venue barker also sternly warned fans to not throw objects on the court.
So far, no on-court flare-up since Amores’ assault has escalated out of control. – Rappler.com