San Miguel forward Arwind Santos won’t be suspended for his monkey gesture taunt towards TNT import Terrence Jones in Game 5 of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals Wednesday.
League commissioner Willie Marcial told ESPN5 that Santos will instead be slapped a P200,000 fine and will serve 100 hours of community service.
“He’ll also undergo seminar and counseling on equality so when he learns from it, he can impart that knowledge to kids and fellow players,” added Marcial, who also apologized to Jones.
“I’d like to ask for understanding from Terrence Jones and his family for what happened.”
“This isn’t the stand of the PBA and the league does not condone what Arwind did, which has no place in the league,” Marcial continued.
The decision not to suspend Santos was in contrast to a 2014 case in the D-League, where former commissioner Chito Salud suspended a ball boy for waving a banana at NLEX forward Ola Adeogun.
“There really was a banana held there. He repeatedly waved that. We saw what Arwind said: he was just trying to taunt. That’s a big difference from that incident,” Marcial explained.
Santos, for his part, was remorseful over the incident.
“To make it short, I’m sorry. I would like to say sorry to Terrence Jones. I [didn’t] mean anything [towards] him. I’m also sorry to all the fans, all San Miguel fans, everyone who was hurt because I really didn’t have any bad intention,” the forward told ESPN5.
“I’m only human, I also commit mistakes. I know I was wrong, and that’s why I’m apologizing.”
Marcial warned that if a similar incident happens in the future, it would warrant a bigger punishment.
“He was apologetic. I saw that the apology came from the heart. For me, that was a sincere apology,” Marcial observed. “[But] if that happens again, I told him it’ll be a bigger penalty and sanction will be meted.”
Santos, who is also set to give a public apology, said that he won’t personally reach out to Jones anymore as he looks forward to Game 6.
“I’m focused on Game 6. I hope we get it and we give PBA fans a good game. It’s a really great series,” he said.