MANILA, Philippines – Converge FiberXers management expectedly sided with their player Barkley Eboña in his involvement in a brief, but animated scuffle with Meralco Bolts veteran Allein Maliksi that resulted in the latter’s ejection last Friday, March 3.
In a statement on Saturday, March 4, Converge condemned Maliksi’s retaliatory choke on Eboña after what the former deemed as a hard duty foul by the ex-FEU stalwart in the closing seconds of an eventual 132-129 overtime win for Meralco.
“The Converge FiberXers denounce the assault on one of our players during the game against the Meralco Bolts [on Friday], March 3,” the statement began.
“We are deeply concerned that such an incident happened [on Friday] where one of our players was put in danger by another player. We also take exception to the statement that the Converge team had an intention to harm other players on the court.”
The Converge statement added that the team’s medico-legal findings said Eboña suffered “soft tissue injury secondary to mauling.”
“Our previous games, whether win or lose, will show that our players have always played fair and displayed honorable sportsmanship,” the statement continued.
In the immediate aftermath of the scuffle, Eboña was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul, which necessitated a forced three-minute sit on the bench, while Maliksi was given a flagrant two – an automatic ejection.
Maliksi has since written a public apology for his actions, but nonetheless accused Eboña for “not going for the ball” in the endgame scramble, trying to hurt Bolts import KJ McDaniels, and “playing dirty” in general.
The 35-year-old sniper will serve a one-game suspension and will fork over a hefty P75,000 fine, while Eboña will be P5,000 poorer due to his actions. – Rappler.com
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