TIME obviously has not eased the bad blood between the Alaska Aces and the San Mig Coffee Mixers.
Less than three months after their heated semifinal series in the PBA Commissioner's Cup which the Aces won, the two teams once again engaged in a highly physical match that resulted in a bench-clearing scuffle on Saturday afternoon at the The Arena in San Juan.
With still a little over two minutes left in the ‘no-foul out’ tune-up game, Alaska rookie Calvin Abueva reportedly gave the driving Alex Mallari a hard hit that resulted in a flagrant foul.
This did not sit well with Mallari’s teammate Joe Devance who immediately shoved Abueva, who fell hard on the floor.
“Nag-attempt ako ng hard foul - binangga ko siya (Mallari) tapos nagulat na lang ako kasi pagtaas ko ng kamay ko bigla akong tinulak ni Joe,” Abueva recalled, who claimed he was a recipient of physical plays by Mixers defenders all game long.
“Pagkatapos 'nun nagkagulo. Masyado silang mainit eh,” he added, while denying he gave Mallari a dagger look after committing the hard foul.
In explaining his outburst, Devance explained that Abueva was really out to hurt Mallari.
“He (Abueva) tripped his legs out. It was a dangerous foul and then on top of that, he looked at Alex like he wants to trash-talk him. He was in Alex’s face,” said Devance. “I didn’t like that.”
“I hit him … But I didn’t hit him hard … You know how he flops. He hits the ground really hard. Then after that both benches got up,” added the San Mig wingman.
“He had like 15 fouls all game long in that tune-up and he keeps hitting people in the head, hurting our players and my point was he was there doing all these crazy stuff and he shouldn’t be in the game,” said Devance of the agreed ‘no foul out’ game.
The Mixers also implemented a ‘no-foul out’ game against Kazakhstan in their tune-up last week.
At the height of the scuffle, San Mig coach Tim Cone and former assistant Luigi Trillo exchanged heated words, witnesses said.
Witnesses said Cone had a few choice words for Abueva, irking now Alaska mentor Trillo who then approached the San Mig coach.
The Mixers won the match, 118-114, with import Marqus Blakely topscoring with 38 points. His counterpart Wendell Mckiness paced the Aces with 27 markers.