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    Blackwater takes a gamble, signs Kelly Nabong to short-term deal

    Mar 25, 2021
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    BLACKWATER is taking a gamble on temperamental big man Kelly Nabong by tapping his services for the coming PBA 46th season.

    Left unsigned by NorthPort, the 32-year-old free agent and Blackwater management verbally came to terms shortly upon learning of the plight of Nabong.

    Danny Espiritu, who represents Nabong, confirmed the agreement between both parties.

    Team owner Dioceldo Sy said Nabong will initially be given a six-month contract for the Philippine Cup, considering the risk the franchise is taking given the Fil-Am’s history of having a short temper.

    His salary is likewise a lot less from the previous contracts he had.

    “Ok na daw siya (Nabong). He will prove that he is a changed man,” said Sy late Wednesday.

    “Verbally done deal na yan.”

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    This is actually the second coming of Nabong with the Blackwater franchise.

    He previously suited up for Blackwater Sports during its early days in the PBA D-League, where he formed the team’s 1-2 combo alongside fellow Fil-Am AJ Mandani.

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    Despite his past association with the franchise, the short contract offered to Nabong was understandable given his past history with other teams he played for.

    The Sacramento, California native once got involved in a punching incident with Marc Pingris during a San Mig Coffee-Globalport game.

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      He also had a verbal spat on the bench with then Meralco deputy coach Jimmy Alapag during a semifinals series with Star Hotshots, which led to a suspension and eventually, his exit from the Bolts.

      Nabong likewise figured in a shoving incident with Mav Ahanmisi, then still with Rain or Shine, during a game between NorthPort Batang Pier and the Elasto Painters. Both players were eventually ejected.

      And who could forget the infamous brawl that marred a San Miguel Beer practice that also had Nabong as among the central figures together with import Dez Wells, Arwind Santos, and Ronald Tubid.

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        The incident came during the Beermen's Governors Cup campaign in 2019 when they were gunning for what would have been the final piece of a rare grand slam.

        Wells was later sent home by the team, while Santos, Nabong, and Tubid were indefinitely suspended by management.

        San Miguel was never the same after that, losing to eventual champion Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals playoffs.

        In the off-season, the Beermen traded Nabong to NorthPort for Russel Escoto.

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        PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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