DESPITE all the trash talk, the exchange of foul words and the skirmishes in Game Three, Alaska bruiser Calvin Abueva and Gabby Espinas insist they are friends.
“Sa akin naman walan naman ‘yun," Espinas, who ended up at San Miguel after being traded away by Alaska, told Spin.ph on Wednesday night after a victory moved the Beermen on the verge of a sweep of the PBA Governors Cup Finals.
"After ng game wala na ‘yun, magkaibigan pa rin kami,” Espinas insisted.
'The Beast' sang the same tune.
“Oo mag-kaibigan naman kami,” Abueva seconded.
Their actions, however, betrayed them.
The two had a shouting match in Game Three after Abueva got tangled up with San Miguel guard Ronald Tubid and tumbled to the floor as they battled for the rebound. Espinas admitted he was taken aback by Abueva's aggression.
Abueva, he said, was barking up the wrong tree.
“Nagulat nga ako sa kanya eh. Nagkatirahan ata sila ni Ronald, 'pag tayo niya ako ‘yung nakita niya minura niya kaagad ako," said Espinas.
“Sabi ko, ‘Tigilan mo ako, ah,’ kasi wala talaga akong alam doon. Hindi ako involved doon sa play na ‘yun eh,” he added.
Abueva, however, did not back down.
“Wala, wala nga. Hindi ko siya minura. Eh masyado siyang maangas eh,” said the former NCAA MVP.
The tension between the two former teammates didn't end there.
In another sequence, Espinas went for a drive and scored against Vic Manuel, who was standing beside Abueva. Turning around, he let his former teammate hear it, removing his mouthpiece and shouting, "Bata ka pa."
But through it all, the two insisted all's well that ends well.
“Maski si Ronald, wala naman ako doubts sa mga ‘yan, wala naman akong sakit ng loob," said Espinas. "Pero pag nasa court, kailangan mo talagang magsalita, kailangan mong mag-ano kaya pagdating naman sa labas tropa tropa.”