KELLY Nabong has personally apologized to the entire GlobalPort team and management for the incident he caused the last time as he stressed the focus right now is get ready for the playoffs in the PBA Philippine Cup.
The eccentric forward was man enough to admit everything was on him after getting ejected on account of two technical fouls (profane language and disrespectfully addressing officials) in the Batang Pier’s 104-100 loss to the Phoenix Fuel Masters last week at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The setback denied the team a higher finish in the quarterfinals and fell at no. 7, forging a match-up with second seed Magnolia, which GlobalPort needs to beat twice in a row to reach the semis. They tangle in the playoffs on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I kind of put that loss on my shoulder. It’s pretty much my fault, and I kind of take that on me,” said an apologetic Nabong shortly after the Batang Pier concluded their practice on Monday morning.
“I apologized to the team and promised them and the coaching staff that it won’t ever happen again.”
At the same time, the 29-year-old Fil-Am brushed aside his action where he was seen warding off coach Pido Jarencio and teammate Sean Anthony as they tried to pacify him at the height of the commotion.
Nabong said he wasn’t aware Jarencio was the one cooling him down.
“That time I don’t know coach Pido was trying to grab me. I really didn’t know that,” said the native of Sacramento, California, who professed his utmost respect to Jarencio, his teammates, and the GlobalPort management.
“I kinda really felt bad once I saw that because I’m not really that kind of player towards management and any of my coaches,” added Nabong.
He said the incident was triggered more by his frustrations that the Batang Pier were not getting the breaks.
“You know, we made our way to the playoffs by playing defense, moving the ball, and shooting well, and suddenly the calls weren’t going our way,” he said.
“As a player, I really want to win and I want to see my team succeed. It kind of got into my head, the non-calls and the team going down by 28 points,” he added. “I’m not making any excuses, but it’s all my fault. I shouldn’t have let something dictate how I feel in the court, no matter what.”
Despite losing Nabong, who averaged 13.5 points, 11.2 rebounds (3rd in the league), 1.9 assists, and 1.5 rebounds (7th overall), GlobalPort battled its way back from 31-points down and almost completed the comeback.
Nabong said he was helpless as he watched the Batang Pier mounted a last-gasp rally that ultimately fell short.
“I already have one technical (foul) and I really shouldn’t have (committed another one) because that took me out of the whole game and I couldn’t come back and help my team win,” he said.
Definitely, he has learned his lesson, and Nabong said he already knows what to do under the same circumstances.
“You either get used to it or move on,” he said. “I kind of like my job playing professional basketball, so I got to deal with it and kind of laugh it off.”
“It’s over now. I really learned from my mistakes and we’re really focus on the playoff right now, so I really want to put that incident away and set aside going into the playoffs.”
As a parting shot, Nabong again reiterated his apology to GlobalPort and the PBA in general.
“I apologize to the PBA and to the fans, to GlobalPort management and the Batang Pier fans and the coaching staff,” he said.