The Green Archers stint in the Davao Kadayawan tournament was cut short after a bench-clearing incident in their game Friday against FEU which forced officials to stop the match as tempers between the two teams further escalated with still a whole quarter to be played.

The commotion started with 20 seconds left in the third period.

Another fracas erupted after that which resulted to the game being stopped for good with the Tamaraws up by 13. No winner was declared and both teams no longer played their remaining games in the tournament.

If we recall last year, the two squads also had a heated encounter weeks before the UAAP season. The game was also stopped to avoid more untoward exchanges from happening.

Interestingly, La Salle will open their UAAP title defense against this same FEU team two weeks from now. The Green Archers however will still be without Ben Mbala in this highly anticipated rematch.

There is a difference between playing physical and playing dirty. We all understand the physical nature of basketball. You get a lot of bumps, hand contacts, go through hard screens and often take hard fouls. That’s okay.

But if one does something that would put another player at risk of getting hurt, intentional or not, that could be interpreted as playing dirty. And when that happens, expect instinctive retaliation.

Nobody wanted this to happen. Emotions are high right now but things will eventually clear up in the coming days.

The silver lining to this incident is that the team showed here that they won’t back down from anything. The players have been instilled with the toughness and grit that will serve them well this coming season especially against teams that will go all out and try to get under their skin.

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