ALASKA forward Calvin Abueva said there was no intention on his part to hurt Hamady N'Diaye, who he poked in the eye in the second half of the Aces' match against KIA on Friday night.
Emerging from the Alaska dugout all smiles after a 101-63 victory, Abueva told Spin.ph he didn't even realize that he had hurt N’Diaye when he tried to snatch the ball away from the towering Nigerian.
“Hindi ko sadya yun. Hindi ko nga rin alam (nangyari eh),” said Abueva. “Hindi ko nga rin alam kung saan ko siya tinamaan. Sa mata yata. Hindi ko alam eh.”
Abueva claimed he was only after the ball.
"Siyempre, kailangan mong tapikin 'yung bola,” said the flamboyant wingman as he reviewed the video of the incident on a friend’s smart phone. “Hindi talaga sadya. Kasi bola hinahabol ko eh.”
Abueva even showed to Spin.ph his newly cut fingernails to prove he cannot hurt N’Diaye.
“Bagong gupit nga yung kuko ko kagabi eh,” said the former NCAA MVP.
Meanwhile, Kia officials were also convinced it was no more than an accident.
“I hope it wasn’t intentional. It’s one thing when it is just a bump or a push. But if it’s in the eye (of a fellow player), it could end a career,” said Kia assistant coach Rob Wainwright, himself a former PBA bruiser.
“I just hope it wasn’t intentional. Looking at the video, I don’t think it was. I hope it wasn’t. I just hope it was just an accident,” he added.
Kia first assistant coach Chito Victolero also defended Abueva from critics by saying he has known the gung-ho forward since he was in college.
“Nakakasama ko sa NCAA 'yan. Nakakalaban ko siya (sa Baste kasi ako sa Mapua). Magulo siya sa court pero hindi siya sisira ng career ng iba. I don’t think he’ll do that,” said Victolero.
“Tingin ko hindi niya sadya 'yun. Accidental lang siguro,” said the former Mapua coach.
Meanwhile, Spin.ph learned that N’Diaye has been cleared of any major injury.
KIA physical therapist Benjie Baron, who accompanied the towering import to the Cardinal Santos Medical Center, said N’Diaye can now open his eyes.
“May abrasion (superficial wound) lang siya sa eyes. Nabubukas na yung mata niya. He can see on both his eyes,” said Baron. “May follow-up check-up lang kami tomorrow.”
Asked why N’Diaye reportedly complained of severe dizziness which prompted Kia officials to immediately rush him to the hospital, Baron gave a detailed explanation.
“Yung kanina kasi nasundot yung mata niya, malalim ang sundot eh. After nun sumakit ulo at napadapa siya,” he said. “Sobrang lalim nung sundot na lumubog yung finger sa mata, medyo may na-shock na nerves, basically. Kaya medyo parang na-traumatize.”
[See video of N’Diaye here and interview of Abueva here]