Magnolia's Paul Lee.

Magnolia’s Paul Lee. –PBA IMAGES

Magnolia’s Calvin Abueva and coach Chito Victolero were almost halfway into their postgame interview inside the press room of Smart-Araneta Coliseum when someone outside was shouting, the words rendered inaudible by the closed doors.

Both Abueva and Victolero—and reporters glued to the interview—were unaware that at that very moment, it was TNT coach Chot Reyes who was fuming at the heels of Magnolia’s 94-92 victory over his squad on Wednesday night.

TNT players and coaches rushed out of the dugout to check on the commotion but found none. Apparently, Reyes simply emptied himself of his frustrations and residue emotions through a scream.

“We thought he was confronting someone in the hallway,” a member of the TNT coaching staff said.

Reyes had reasons to let off some steam as he left the coliseum in a huff.

He had earlier rushed toward the officials’ table to argue a call that eventually led to TNT’s defeat. The call in question was the foul slapped on TNT debutant Calvin Oftana with 4.3 seconds remaining when he tried to swipe the ball from Magnolia’s Paul Lee, who was attempting a jumper.

Replays showed that Oftana may have touched Lee, barely, in that sequence. Reyes disagreed, but Lee was still awarded two foul shots which he both converted to secure Magnolia’s tight victory, which came after the Hotshots trailed by 13 at one point.

Reyes may have even more fuel for another screaming session.

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Office slapped a P50,000 fine on him for his outburst.

PBA deputy commissioner Eric Castro confirmed the sanction early Thursday evening through a memo, explaining that Reyes was fined for “crossing the court to confront the game officials and the technical table, as well as incessantly shouting invectives/shouting profanities at game officials while exiting the Smart Araneta Coliseum’s South Gate.”

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial had also earlier said a fine was headed Reyes’ way.

“It’s an automatic sanction under our rules,” Marcial said.

Jojo Lastimosa, TNT’s team manager, was also fined P20,000 for “also crossing the court and confronting game officials and the technical table.”

Lastimosa was also seen within the vicinity of the incident, though it appeared that he was trying to play more of a pacifier’s role.

No further sanctions were handed, but the league cited an October 2007 memo that prohibits any member of the team from approaching the officials table.

“No member of any team may approach the Commissioner’s Row [now the Technical Group Table] or talk to the Supervisor of Officials [unless requested] before, during or after a game in full public view,” the league said.

It was a disappointing start to TNT’s Commissioner’s Cup campaign, putting for naught a strong debut of import Cameron Oliver and Oftana’s first match in a Tropang Giga jersey.

Reyes eventually got home and even attended a virtual coaching class.

“Had to force myself to stay up after a tough loss,” Reyes said in an Instagram story.

Meanwhile, Myles Powell wraps up his four-game shift for the visiting Bay Area Dragons, who will face the Converge FiberXers on Friday at Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Powell has been terrific for the undefeated Dragons with averages of 36.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 3.0 steals, and he will look to keep that form in the 5:45 p.m. meeting with Converge.

The 6-foot-2 guard will hand the responsibilities to Andrew Nicholson after the match for the latter’s own four-game stint, but Powell hopes that the Dragons can keep up the fire burning especially after close calls against the NorthPort Batang Pier and Phoenix Fuel Masters.

“I think the first win where we won by so much [against Blackwater], we took advantage of that, and we were so high up, and now we were just taking everybody for granted,” Powell said.

“I think we just have to come back and come in every game with that same hunger no matter who we are playing,” he added.

Meralco seeks a first win after a 0-2 start against Terrafirma at 3 p.m., with coach Norman Black pinning his hopes on import Johnny O’Bryant to raise his level of play.

A loss will send Terrafirma to a 20-game skid that will extend its hold of second on the all-time list for consecutive defeats.

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