Calvin Abueva has apologized to the entire Gilas Pilipinas team after his ill-advised headbutt on Chinese player Li Gen.
The mercurial forward was ejected late in the first quarter of the national team’s opening game against defending champion China after headbutting the Chinese center who shoved Abueva with a closed fist and then stared him down. The 29-year old product of San Sebastian College immediately stood up and then proceeded to headbutt Gen who instantly fell down grimacing in pain.
Surprisingly, Gen was only assessed a foul for the move. China’s bully enforcer got away with a closed-first shove and a clear acting job despite video review of the incident. FIBA rule states that game officials can charge a technical foul on players who attempt to “sell” a call.
Abueva waited for the team in the dugout of the Nouhad Nawal Stadium before saying his piece.
PBA communications and external affairs head Willie Marcial, who is in Lebanon together with Commissioner Chito Narvasa, said that the Alaska energizer bunny was ashamed of the incident and claimed that it was only a retaliatory move.
“Binigyan daw siya kaya pagbangon niya binawian niya agad,” Marcial said in an interview with Spin.ph.
The apology was however drowned in the midst of the celebration following the team’s 96-87 upset of the team beat Gilas in the Finals of the 2015 edition of the tournament.
Despite the unsportsmanlike foul, Abueva is expected to suit up for today’s game against Iraq as there’s no such thing as automatic suspension in FIBA. – Victor Adea