The University of the Philippines (UP) is appealing the three-game suspension handed down by the UAAP to UP Fighting Maroons Coach Bo Perasol, arguing in their Motion for Reconsideration (MR) that the said penalty is excessive and unwarranted.

According to lawyer Patricia Galang, one of the lawyers tapped to help UP College of Human Kinetics (CHK) Dean Francis “Kiko” Diaz in the preparation of the MR, aside from protesting the severity of the penalty, UP also raised several issues regarding the factual bases of the penalty and the legal basis of the UAAP Tournament Commissioner to mete out a multi-game suspension based on the violations of Perasol.

“As we discussed in the MR, it is our contention that the three-game suspension of Coach Bo is excessive, unwarranted, and unprecedented,” said Galang, who is also a founding member of NowheretogobutUP, the foundation helping UP sports teams.

According to Galang, they were hoping the Commissioner would revisit his decision to suspend Perasol for three games, “and compare the incident and its corresponding punishment with similar incidents in the past.”

“As video footage shows, Coach Bo uttered some harsh words but he did not at any point hit or make physical contact with referee Jaime Rivano. At most I think one could argue that Coach Bo stood in an aggressive manner––but he did nothing beyond that,” stressed Galang.

Compare the incident and its corresponding punishment with similar incidents in the past.

Galang said that in the past, a UAAP coach has been suspended for making physical contact with a referee. In the incident, the coach took the glasses of one of his staff members and placed them on the face of one of the referees officiating the game.

“In this case, the penalty was only one game. In our research, multiple game suspensions have been given out before, by FIBA, no less, but these involved an all-out melee that included coaches and players from opposing teams,” said Galang.

“In fact, one of the assistant coaches punched a player on the other team and was suspended for three games. That is a far cry from the incident involving Coach Bo.”

In the September 29 UP-Ateneo game, Perasol was assessed a technical foul after entering the playing court and confronting Rivano. After he refused to leave the court, Perasol was issued a second technical and was ejected from the game. According to UAAP Tournament Director Jensen Ilagan, the ejection and what he called “continuous flagrant acts of aggression” were the bases for the three-game suspension of Perasol.

Galang said that UP and Perasol acknowledge that the latter should be sanctioned for his actions that day.

“This is why Coach Bo apologized and said he was ready to accept the consequences of his actions. But like Coach said, this is too harsh. We know that tough sanctions are sometimes needed to deter unwelcome behavior on the court, but the penalties meted out by the UAAP should be commensurate to the violation,” explained Galang.

Galang said it is also UP’s contention that there is an “unclear factual basis for the additional two-game penalty imposed on Coach Bo.”

“Coach Bo got a one game suspension for his ejection; that is clear under Rule 9.2.1., which says that if you’re ejected from the game, you’re suspended in the next game. So what’s the basis for the additional two games? The Commissioner says it is for ‘continuous flagrant acts of aggression,’ a violation that does not exist as defined by tournament rules,” said Galang.

There is an “unclear factual basis for the additional two-game penalty imposed on Coach Bo.

“Essentially, the Commissioner created a new offense–– ‘continuous flagrant acts of aggression’––and, in our view, arbitrarily suspended Coach Bo for two more games.”

The UP Law alumna said that the exercise of discretion “should be guided by existing standards that can be found in other rules currently adopted by the UAAP.”

For example, Galang revealed that in the guidelines disseminated during the 16 August 2019 pre-tournament meeting, additional penalties on similar offenses committed by players were given the following parameters: for their first offense, a written reprimand; for the second offense, a one game suspension; for the third offense, a two game suspension; and for the fourth offense, suspension for the entire season.

“As you can see, the intention is to impose stiffer penalties for repeat offenders. In the rule mentioned, a two-game suspension is meted out only after the offense is committed for the third time within the season; clearly, this is not the case with Coach Bo.”

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