Ivan Johnson fined, suspended for Blackwater skirmish

Commissioner Chito Narvasa cracked the whip on returning Talk ‘N Text import Ivan Johnson even before the start of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, slapping a hefty P50,000 fine and one-game suspension for fighting with 2 Blackwater players last Saturday in a practice game.

PBA media bureau chief Willy Marcial said Johnson is also banned from joining the Tropang Texters’ practice games, but will have to serve his one-game ban.

“Ivan cannot play in any scrimmage or tune-up games. He can only practice with his team. So he’s not allowed to play practice games until he has served his suspension,” Marcial told FOX Sports on Wednesday.

Johnson, who led Talk ‘N Text to the Commissioner’s Cup championship last season, joined the orientation conducted by Narvasa on Wednesday morning as the PBA’s chieftain explained the rules of officiating.

Meantime, Blackwater alternate governor Wilbert Loa explained there was no truth to reports that Erram and Johnson were exchanging elbows throughout the game.

Loa stressed that the 6-foot-8 Johnson, who appeared to have been irritated after colliding with Erram, started it.

“He pushed Poy (Erram) at his chin while he was trying to help Ivan up because both of them fell on the floor. The video is clear and you’ll see what happened there,” Loa said.

Play was completely halted by the referees midway in the final quarter of their practice game at the Moro Lorenzo gym with the Elite up by 11 points.

The Elite will incidentally be playing the defending champion Tropang Texters on opening day (February 10) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Johnson will be serving his suspension in that game, giving the young Elite side an advantage as they parade youthful import Malcolm “MJ” Rhett.

Johnson has had a history of on-court skirmishes with players during his first stint in the PBA last season. The American was slapped a P150,000 fine last season after bumping Rain or Shine coach in the Finals. — By Richard Dy

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