Ex-PBA star jailed for battering newshen, taxi driver

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Former professional basketball player Paul Alvarez was slapped with multiple criminal charges and jailed yesterday for mauling a taxi driver and battering a female reporter in Mandaluyong City.

Senior Supt. Ericson Velasquez, identified the complainants of Alvarez as Wilfredo Cabanlit, 46, cab driver, of Tindog Street, Area B-Talanay, Batasan Hills, Quezon City, and Gretchen Malalad, of ABS-CBN.

Velasquez says “Bong,” then PBA’s “Mr. Excitement” and now a bit player in television shows, faces two counts of physical injuries and resisting arrest after creating a raucus at the Mandaluyong police station.

He said when a soused Alvarez saw the network crew, he warned the cameraman not to take footage. Malalad was trying to get his side on the complaint of Cabanlit.

Malalad told police that upon Alvarez’s entrance at the police investigation office he hit her face with his elbows and pulled her hair.

Standing her ground, Malalad, who was a taekwondo blackbelter and gold medalist in the recent Southeast Asian Games gave Alvarez a dose of his medicine.

“Siyempre lumaban ako. Tinamaan ko siya ng dalawang beses sa mukha, pero tinamaan din niya ako [Certainly, I fought back. I hit him twice in the face as I was also hit].”

Velasquez said duty policemen pacified Alvarez and Malalad.

Mandaluyong City prosecutor Elenita Dimagiba recommended a P6,000 bail for Alvarez for his temporary liberty.

Records showed Alvarez flagged down Cabanlit’s Reno cab (WTS-721) at Rembrandt Hotel in Quezon City around 5 a.m. yesterday with the instruction to head for Pasig City.

After several minutes of travel, Alvarez changed his mind and instead asked to be taken to Quiapo, Manila, via Shaw Boulevard before dozing off.

Cabanlit said he took Boni Avenue instead to avoid the traffic but failed to inform Alvarez.

He told police that when Alvarez came around, he flared up and started hurling invectives at him.

The driver said he was explaining his side only to get kicked in the face and rained blows with Alvarez with a bottle.

To escape further punishment, Cabanlit told the police he rushed out of the vehicle but Alvarez gave chase.

But the retired cage star was prevailed upon by village officials and brought to the police station where Malalad, who is enlisted with the Air Force, happened to be around.

Alvarez, of 20 George St., Washington Avenue in Pasig, refused to be interviewed and Malalad claimed she and her crew respected his decision.

Alvarez was locked up with detainees even as his bail was being worked out by friends and relatives.