Post-Game Verbal Tiff Fuels Title Duel

On: 19 February 2008

By Nelson Beltran
The Philippine Star, 19 February 2008

The post Game Two altercation between Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez and Purefoods' cager Roger Yap is likely to further fire up the already intense Smart PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven finals.

Fernandez confronted Yap after the Realtors sealed a 2-0 series lead with a 112-101 victory Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum in a commotion after the game.

"I just asked him (Yap) why he's hurting Kelly (Williams) when the game was all (but) over," said Fernandez.

Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio came to his charge's defense and stressed his Sta. Lucia counterpart has no right to accost Yap after the game.

"He (Fernandez) charged into my player, he cursed my player. We'll not take that sitting down," said Gregorio.

"I have not seen a coach charged into a player after a won ball game. That's not a class act. He's been making a lot of enemies inside and outside the court. He's offended a lot and that's a matter of fact," Gregorio said, alluding to Fernandez' earlier spats with coaches Leo Austria and Tim Cone.

Fernandez, however, said he's taking things in stride after the post Game Two incident.

"I have no quarrel with Roger. In fact, he's my kumpare. I'm a godfather to one of his kids. It so happened that Kelly Williams is my player and I will stand by his side." said Fernandez.

"I know coach Ryan (Gregorio) is a good motivator. I'm sure he'll use this as a motivational tool for the rest of the series but we'll be ready," Fernandez added.

Gregorio also stood by his player, saying Fernandez made false accusation.

"He said Roger punched Kelly Williams. I've reviewed the tape but I didn't see Roger throw a single swing. It was just body-up which they've been doing to James Yap and Kerby Raymundo for the longest time," Gregorio said.

Gregorio said they're focused to pull a win in Game Three tomorrow although he has admitted that Sta. Lucia now has the psychological edge.

"Our team has so much pride we'll sure to start winning Wednesday," said Gregorio.

"The incident is a thing of the past. I will not dwell on it. If they will, then that's their problem," said Fernandez. "I'll not go into some sort of psy-war, that's not my game. I'd rather have the series decided on the hard court."

Sta. Lucia has established control of the series tipped to be dominated by Purefoods, winning Game One, 109-97, and repeating in Game Two, 112-101.

Williams has been Purefoods' biggest problem as the Fil-Am forward averaged 23.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in the series.

Other Realtors playing key roles in the series are Dennis Espino, Nelbert Omolon, Joseph Yeo, Denok Miranda, Ryan Reyes and Marlou Aquino.

For Purefoods, it's been all James Yap and Raymundo in the first two games. But the Giants prized cagers had a hard time pacing themselves and have the tendency to slow down at the finish.

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