THE trash-talking, cheap shots and skirmishes did not end on the hardcourt for Alaska's Calvin Abueva and Arwind Santos of San Miguel Beer.
The two Pampanga-born dribblers, incidentally belonging to the same stable of Pampanga vice governor Dennis Pineda, traded barbs and accusations at the end of the Beermen's 100-86 win over the Aces in Game Two on Friday night.
The Beermen won the game to level the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at 1-1 but Santos paid the price when he ended up with a boxer's cut on his forehead after being hit by a wayward elbow from Abueva in the second half.
But Abueva it was Santos and the rest of the Beermen who were playing dirty.
"Alam naman ng tao kung ano ang totoong laro sa pananakit na ginagawa nila," said Abueva after emerging from the dugout. "Itanong nila sa sarili nila kung laro pa ba mga ginagawa nila."
Abueva even complained that he was hit by a San Miguel ballboy during one of the commotions on the floor.
Santos, however, was quick to shrug off the highly physical battles as no more than a psy war, saying the one who loses his cool will lose the battle.
"Sa tagal kong naglalaro, normal na ang physicality. Parte na ng laro yan eh (pisikalan)," Santos said.
Adked what he was whispering to Abueva after he returned in the fourth quarter with a bandage on his head, Santos simply shrugged his shoulders.
"Nakalimutan ko na yung kulitan namin eh. Pero isa sa sinabi ko sa kanya, 'Kung sino na lang mapikon, siya ang talo,'" Santos added.
The physicality went beyond Abueva and Santos in a game that for a while looked more like a frat rumble than a PBA game.
Alaska forward Vic Manuel was whistled for a flagrant foul penalty 1 at the 3:50 mark of the third quarter after headlocking David Semerad, who went down on the floor.
The incident was a preceded by a grappling incident between SMB rookie David Semerad and Alaska gunner Dondon Hontiveros that led to a double foul for the two in the third quarter.
Asked to comment on the way the officials handled the match, losing coach Alex Compton refused to comment.
"No comment, no comment at all. Zero! Everything I say about the officiating, it might lead me talking to (technical chief) Ramil (Cruz) or the commissioner, keep everything in the family. I love the PBA," Compton said before walking away with his wife to the parking lot.
But for San Miguel coach Leo Austria, the game only showed that the Beermen can be physical when provoked.
"Calvin Abueva is a warrior, pero meron din kaming warrior sa team. Ang pangalan niya Arwind Santos," said Austria. "Naging aggressor lang kami sa defense namin. Hindi kami nagsisimula. Alam ng players ko 'yun. We don't play dirty, but when the game becomes physical... We are ready."
As chaotic as the match went, former PBA bruiser Sonny Cabatu said it was nothing out of the ordinary.
"Kaunting dugo pa lang yan kumpara nung panahon namin. Kasi dati iba talaga pag championship, patayan nung araw," said Cabatu.
"Nuong araw pag may bantay at na foul mo, halos babalian mo na ng katawan. Ngayon hard foul, reklamuhan na. Yang mga nakikita mong reklamo kay Calvin, wala pa nung araw 'yan. Doblehin mo pa. Normal lang yung dati," he added.
One man who certainly enjoyed watching the game was Rain or Shine banger Beau Belga.
"Grabe, nag-enjoy ako panoorin 'yung game kanina. May lakad nga kami dapat ng family ko, maglilibot kami, pero nung napanood ko 'yung pisikalan, tinapos ko na," said Belga, who is currently vacationing in Baguio with wife Queenie and three-year old son Zach.
"Nagulat ako sa pisikalan nung dalawa. Kasi di naman sila kilala dati na ganun eh. Kaya natuwa ako panoorin. Mas naging interesting ang series, aabangan ko ulit next game," he added.
"Sana next conference ganyan na ang laro. Kasi mas masaya panoorin eh. Tama lang takbo ng officiating, let go talaga."