by Dennis Principe
Despite his notoriety which is already a fact even before he came to town, renegade import Glen Rice, Jr. was still given one last chance to make amends with his team TNT KaTropa.
Team official Patrick Gregorio, who was badmouthed by Rice during the team’s controversial Game 4 semis match against Ginebra last Sunday, disclosed how they waited for their import to at least try to reach out to them before the American import flies back to the United States.
“He was set to leave two days after the incident but he didn’t even bother to get in touch with management,” said Gregorio during an interview with Radyo Pilipinas 2.
Rice was ejected in the first quarter of the series’ fourth game after committing a Flagrant Foul 1 for shoving Kevin Ferrer and subsequently throwing the ball at the fallen Ginebra rookie that resulted in a technical foul and eventual ejection.
Apparently, it entered Rice’s head that Ferrer was planning to hurt him during the game after he saw the Ginebra player wearing a protective mask entering Game 3, something which Gregorio find as absurd on the part of their import.
“I told him the father of Kevin’s girlfriend is my best friend and that Kevin assured me he won’t in any way hurt our import. It will just be purely basketball and that was what I told Glen,” revealed Gregorio “To my surprise during that game 4 incident, Glen shouted at me and told me ‘you are protecting him.’”
Gregorio felt Rice wasted a golden opportunity to prove his worth as the 26-year-old son of former NBA superstar Glen, Sr. had brushes with the law the last few years.
July of last year, Rice was nabbed for cases of robbery, aggravated battery and marijuana possession in Georgia.
Two years ago in Atlanta, Rice was shot in the leg during an altercation at a restaurant and was subsequently arrested for marijuana possession.
Gregorio would not have been only proud but very happy to be part of a young man’s rise from his troubled past, something which will probably not happen in the near future.
“I don’t think we will take that risk. Sabi nga ni coach Nash, high risk, high returns. Almost but not quite,” said Gregorio. “What a waste. He was that good and probably would have been great. I guess he should try to enroll at any anger management class in the US.”
Before Rice left, management slapped the American with a $10,000 fine apart from the P26,000 penalty sanctioned by the PBA earlier this week, for his actions in Sunday’s 115-105 loss to Ginebra San Miguel in the Governors’ Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“His undesirable, unprofessional, unruly and unsportsmanlike behavior adversely affected not only the team’s image but the brand and corporate reputation of the PLDT Group as well,” TNT said in a statement.
“As a consequence, the team is deducting from his final compensation the amount of the PBA fine plus the Team fine. This is without prejudice however to whatever legal right TNT may have against Mr. Rice for damages and other available remedies under our contract,” the statement concluded.