What do you need to do to get a flagrant foul? asked Rain or Shine Coach Yeng Guiao with regard to Talk ‘N Text import Ivan Johnson’s tapping hard Paul Lee’s face instead of the ball as the Rain or Shine point guard drove in for a layup. I say one needs to be wearing a jersey other than one that has Talk ‘N Text or Ginebra San Miguel written on it. If the offending player is a TNT player, never mind if he has an international reputation for rough play like Ivan Johnson, no foul will be called.
Magoo Marjon, who was covering the game, immediately called Johnson’s infraction a Flagrant 2 foul, which meant two free throws plus ball possession for the offended team, and 3-minute benching of the offending player. When the referees decided it was just a regular foul, Magoo’s tone of voice evinced surprise. .
Musong Castillo of Philippine Daily Inquirer wrote: “Johnson was at it again, clipping Paul Lee in the face when the Rain or Shine point guard was driving to the hoop. Johnson even chased Chris Tiu when Tiu broke up a pass intended for the Talk and Text import late in the fourth. “
Nelson Beltran of Philippines Star saw it this way: “Apparently, his attention wasn’t called even as he dabbled in extracurricular activities instead of focusing on the game, a major part in their 93-101 downfall in Game Six that necessitated a duel for all the marbles at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Big Dome. In one play in the third quarter, Johnson went after Chris Tiu after the Rain or Shine guard broke Talk n Text’s fastbreak attack. In another play towards the end, Johnson reached at Paul Lee’s face as the RoS top gun was going to the basket.”
No fine, not even a warning has been handed down by the Commissioner to Johnson. RoS RJ Quinahan was fined by the Commissioner for striking a fighting stance against the bigger Johnson in Game 5.
TNT’s Kelly Williams kneed Paul in a rebound play and later applied a clothesline on Paul. In both instances Paul was disabled momentarily but no foul was called on either play. If RoS’ Beau Belga or Alaska’s Calvin Abueva did the same things, not only a regular foul would have been called, a flagrant 1 would have been slapped on them.
Beau was fined for falling on Ginebra ‘ s Emman Monfort in a scramble of the ball under the goal and for pinning Mark Caguioa to the floor after a rebound play in one game. That is because he has a reputation for rugged basketball. Same with Calvin. Ivan Johnson has an international reputation for dirty play, but his TNT jersey seems to have hidden that from the referees and from the Commissioner. When he bloodied Paul Lee and knocked out one of his teeth with a mean elbow, forcing Paul to go to the lockers for medical treatment, Ivan the Bad Man was charged with a regular foul only.
Game 7 jut might be decided not on the court but in the Commissioner’s Office. And everybody knows how the odds are stacked there.