VisMin Super Cup expels, fines Siquijor team; Lapu-Lapu players suspended

Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup COO Rocky Chan said on Thursday that the league will be expelling the Siquijor Mystics team, and suspending players from the Lapu-Lapu City Heroes squad after their controversial match on Wednesday.

After an internal investigation, the league concluded that the Mystics threw the game against the Heroes. Chan said that the entire Mystics team and some Lapu-Lapu players "committed disgraceful acts to the sport we love the most."

According to Chan, the decision was crafted "as early as 9 p.m." on Wednesday, about six hours after the game was halted due to a "power interruption." It was a game that was marred by a 27-13 halftime score, and saw the two squads shoot a combined 4-of-29 from the charity stripe.

"The Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup is disappointed because of the incident that occurred yesterday," said Chan in a statement aired online. "This has been concluded after a thorough review of our technical committee, together with the Games and Amusements Board. We hold ourselves and each of our players to a high standard," he added.

On top of the expulsion, the league fined the Mystics P1 million. Jan Peñaflor, Michael Calomot, Frederick Rodriguez, Gene Belleza, Jopet Quiro, Isagani Gooc, Miguel Castellano, Juan Aspiras, Joshua Alcober, Vincent Tangcay, John Buenafe, Michael Sereno, and Ryan Buenafe are also ordered to be banned from the league. No other team is allowed to sign players from the squad.

Also booted are head coach Joel Palapal and his coaching staff.

Lapu-Lapu avoided expulsion as the league decided instead to suspend a number of players and fine them P15,000 each. Ineligible to play for the rest of the first round are Jojo Tangkay, Reed Juntilla, Monbert Arong, Dawn Ochea, and Ferdinand Lusdoc. Head coach Francis Auquico was also suspended and fined P30,000. The rest of the coaching staff were also fined P20,000 each.

On the other hand, Rendell Senining, who was seen shooting left and right-handed free throws, will be suspended for the rest of the tournament and meted a P15,000 fine.

Chan also apologized to the public for the incident that had stained the name of the league, which is less than a week old.

"We would like to apologize to all our fans, sponsors, and the entire basketball community for this unfortunate incident. The goal of the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup is to serve as an inspiration for the youth in our region, to play the game we love the most. We assure that this incident is an isolated case," explained Chan.

He also reiterated that the league will not tolerate any kind of nefarious activity. "This is a clear statement of the Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, any deliberate actions that any of these teams or players do is not tolerated in this league."

Meanwhile, Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra commended the league for its swift action on the erring parties.

"We have been in close coordination with them and support their decision," Mitra said in a statement.

As to the players' license revocation, while we respect the league rules, we will base our decision on the report from our own people on the ground and the move of VisMin but giving all parties concerned due process.

As to the league, we are watching them closely and issue reminders to them at all times. We assure basketball fans and the public that we are on the ground and making sure the integrity of professional sports is upheld at all times."