By Jonas Terrado
ANTIPOLO CITY — San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria said management’s decision to suspend Arwind Santos, Kelly Nabong and Ronald Tubid indefinitely should serve as a strong reminder for the team still reeling from a fight that marred a recent practice session.
The Beermen broke their silence hours before Wednesday’s 114-109 loss to TNT KaTropa at the Ynares Center here by sanctioning the three players for their role in the incident that also involved now former import Dez Wells at the Upper Deck Sports Center.
Santos, Nabong, Tubid and Wells came to a blows during the biggest controversy to hit the Beermen since the “Petronovela” days.
Wells, who missed the last two games due to an ankle injury that prompted SMB to tap John Holland, left the country Tuesday according to sources.
“We have to accept the reality because we cannot tolerate the incident that happened to us,” Austria told reporters after the game. “And although it’s internal, that’s what the organization stands for. Talagang we have to do something that could give us some reminder, strong signal that nobody’s above the policy of the company.”
SMB missed out on a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals after finishing the elimination round in fifth place at 6-5, giving the team another obstacle to hurdle.
The Beermen face fourth seed Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the quarterfinals which starts Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
SMB almost stole the twice-to-beat from TNT when it rallied from 18 points down to take a 108-107 lead in the final minute on import John Holland’s three.
But TNT reinforcement KJ McDaniels answered with a three before SMB blew a chance to reclaim the lead seconds later after missed one-hander by June Mar Fajardo.