Castro, Tautuaa find lifetime ban on Johnson ‘too harsh’

Tropang TNT rookie Moala Tautuaa find the banning of import Ivan Johnson by league commissioner Chito Narvasa as “too harsh,” saying the former Atlanta Hawk is a different person during practice.

“I don’t know, it was too harsh you know. What calls did he (Johnson) get? He got 2 fouls. A technical and flagrant 1, then he gets thrown out. How many players have gotten that before?” Tautuaa told media men, moments after Tropang TNT dropped a close 84-88 decision Saturday against sister team Meralco Bolts at the Philsports Arena.

Read: Where’s due process? TNT officials slam Narvasa’s swift lifetime ban on Johnson

The 6-foot-7 Tautuaa couldn’t believe what he heard when media men covering the game broke the news to him that Johnson was banned from the league by Narvasa while the Tropa-Bolts game was ongoing.

“I’m new here and I’m not used to seeing these kinds of calls and getting thrown out and banned. I don’t know what to say about that,” he said.

“That’s news to me. I wish this is a lie, but we just got to take a step a time and see what happens after this.”

Read: Ivan Johnson gets lifetime ban from PBA

However, the Fil-Tongan top PBA rookie pick last year said practice is “fun” with Johnson.

“He’s a good teammate. I like him. He’s fun in practice and he’s definitely a different player (in the game). He’s intense, he likes to win and he wants to win,” said the 26-year-old TNT rookie big man.

“I got lots of respect for him. He’s a good player.”

Read: TNT coach Uichico explains Johnson’s outburst vs Blackwater

Veteran guard Jayson Castro shared the former PBA D-League MVP’s sentiment.

“Sobrang bait niya., kaso yung emotions niya, saka passion niya sa basketball siguro, kaya nangyari yung ganun pero nakikipag-biruan siya especially kina Mo and Harvey,” said the “Blur”.

Although Johnson is already banned from the league, Castro believes the team is motivated in its bid for back-to-back Commissioner’s Cup crown.

“Oo naman (motivated to win). Iyung nangyari sa amin sa All-Filipino na we fell short, di nga kami nakapasok ng semis eh, so ngayon ang goal is makapasok naman ng semis then let’s see kung makapasok ng Finals,” said Castro, a three-time PBA Best Player.

Read: Blackwater’s Erram: I was trying to help Johnson up before skirmish

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