While there was obviously hard contact, no way was he going to inflict personal harm on a fellow player, according to the Converge big man.
And for the record, Ebona said he didn’t throw a single punch.
“To be honest hindi ko naman sadya yun,” said an apologetic Ebona afterwards.
“Pero hindi ko naman intention na dito tamaan si Allein,” he added, pointing to a part of his chin.
The contact came after Maliksi tried to wiggle himself free from a Converge double team with six seconds left in overtime and the Bolts just ahead by two.
The FiberXers needed to foul as time was slowly ticking away, Ebona pointed out.
“Ang tagal naming maagaw yung bola, and ang dami nang nako-consume na oras. So kailangan mag duty foul,” said Ebona. “Alam ko naman mag give up lang naman ako ng foul,” he said.
And he’s certain, it wasn’t a punch which he committed.
“Hindi naman ako naka-closed fist,” Ebona stressed. “Hard lang yung foul ko kasi pasalubong kami. Pasugod ako, siya naman pasugod din sa side ko.”
And as much as Maliksi was surprised with Ebona’s hit, so was the Converge big man of the Meralco gunner’s action of doing a chokehold on him.
“Nagulat ako na sinakal niya ako kasi magkakilala naman kami. Nakita ninyo naman hindi ako nag-react kasi akala ko ordinary foul ang itatawag,” he said.
Maliksi was thrown out for his action which game officials deemed as flagrant foul penalty 2, while Ebona was called for a lighter flagrant foul penalty 1 infraction.
The FiberXers lost the game 132-129, with Maliksi’s late three-pointer turning the tide in favor of the Bolts prior to the incident.
Maliksi finished with 12 points, while Ebona was held scoreless.
Ebona later tried to approach and call out Maliksi on their way out of the Big Dome, but could only get a cold shoulder from the Meralco gunner.