Top guard Bonbon Batiller paid a stiff price for his misbehavior during University of the East’s previous practice as he was benched by Red Warriors’ coach Derrick Pumaren in their 71-79 loss to the Adamson Soaring Falcons on Saturday night in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball match at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The 5-foot-9 Batiller, the team’s leading scorer, was reduced to a mere spectator from the bench following his heated encounter with UE teammate Omar Larupay in their practice session last Thursday, prompting Pumaren to whip the crack on them.
While he admitted he has already buried the hatchet with Larupay, Batiller said he was caught by surprise that he was not fielded in a crucial loss by UE to Adamson but added he fully respects the decision of Pumaren.
“Expected ko na ipapasok ako. Pero coach’s decision. Nirerespeto ko po,” he told sports scribes after emerging from their dug-out. “Okay lang naman po. Nagsisimula naman po tayo sa ganyan.”
Although he denied that frustrations are setting in with UE on a tailspin, Batiller admitted his encounter with Larupay didn’t result to a full-blown fight but was personally seen by Pumaren himself.
“Wala lang yun. Parang away lang na…hindi naman nagkasuntukan,” he stressed. “Pero nakita ni Manong [Derrick] during practice.”
Batiller, however, was quite pleased to see his UE teammates try their best to come back from 16 points down against Adamson and pull the closest at 66-70 with under five minutes to play.
“Muntikan na silang manalo,” he stressed.
While he’s not assured if he’ll be released from the doghouse in UE’s next match against powerhouse La Salle on Wednesday also at the Big Dome, Batiller could only hope for the best. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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