Nabong claims he's just trying to protect Hayes
MANILA, Philippines – Kelly Nabong’s head has already cooled down when he emerged from GlobalPort’s locker room right after the Batang Pier lost, 88-102, to the San Mig Coffee Mixers in a fight-marred game Wednesday night.
Nabong claimed he was only trying to protect his teammate Marvin Hayes when San Mig Coffee forward Marc Pingris went at him and engaged him in a fight that resembled a mixed martial arts match.
“I saw two players (Marqus Blakely and Joe Devance) on my teammate (Marvin Hayes) while he was on the ground. I can't let that happen. That's loyalty and sacrifice for me. So I came to protect him,” Nabong told reporters.
“It wasn't the right thing to do but I'm not gonna let my teammate get kicked while he's on the ground,” said the GlobalPort rookie. “That's not how I was raised.”
Nabong pushed Blakely and Devance away from the fallen Hayes.
"We were down by 20 so I have to sacrifice myself to give us that push start," said Nabong, who stood his ground against the Mixers' frontline.
The altercation fired up the Batang Pier, who rallied to cut the 19-point deficit, 39-58, into a single digit only to fall short in the end.
“I wasn't there to fight. I was there to help my team win. It was so unfortunate that I got into a little altercation. But it's all over now. No hard feelings,” Nabong told reporters.
Though Nabong was seen in the video replays challenging Pingris to continue the fight outside, the Fil-Am rookie said he did not harbour any hard feelings towards the San Mig Coffee bruiser.
“I have no hard feelings towards him,” said the Fil-Am rookie referring to Pingris.
“It's just two teams trying to get the win. He's a national team player and plays for Gilas. I wish him and his team best,” Nabong added.
Both Nabong and Pingris are expected to get stiff fines and sanctions from the PBA after they appear before league Commissioner Chito Salud on Thursday.
“I can't deny it. It was on (national) TV,” Nabong said. “I just have to take anything like a man and accept it.”