BY trying to pacify an enraged Renaldo Balkman and exercising restraint when he himself came under attack, Arwind Santos prevented a bad situation from getting worse.
That was the opinion of Santos' longtime patron Dennis Pineda, who commended the Petron star for keeping his temper in check when the ill-tempered import shoved Santos then grabbed him by the neck in a strange ending to the Boosters' 73-83 loss to Alaska on Friday night.
Santos did shove Balkman back during the scuffle, but the situation could have turned far worse had the Boosters forward retaliated with a punch and Balkman would have been in danger of coming under attack from an angry mob, Pineda said.
“Kung nagkataon at nagbitaw ng suntok si Arwind kay Balkman, imagine-in mo kung ilang libong tao sa coliseum ang susugod at kukuyog sa import na yun,” said Pineda, who has looked after Santos' career even before he started making a name for himself at Far Eastern University
A mob attack on Balkman would not have been improbable considering the inability of the Big Dome's yellow-clad security men to immediately respond to the Balkman incident, Pineda said.
The security was so lax, Pineda pointed out, that one civilian - later identified as Balkman's own friend and chef Tim Brooks - managed to enter the court at the height of the scuffle.
“Siguro nag-hesitate sila (security men) dahil in progress pa 'yung laro, pero sana man lang may nakita tayo agad na naka-standby sa gilid na yellow boys (security),” said Pineda.
“Isipin mo sino yung naka-maong na jacket na yun (Brooks), bakit nakapasok siya sa court?” added Pineda. “Buti na lang nagkataon na taga-awat pala s'ya."
Santos was among the first to step in when Balkman went after the referees, and later made the first move to smoke the peace pipe with the import for the sake of unity, Pineda pointed out.
“Alam mo humanga ako kay Arwind dun, kasi sa punto na parang wala nang gustong umawat kay Balkman dahil mukhang takot na lahat, isinakripisyo niya yung kanyang katawan,” said the former mayor of Lubao town and son of Pampanga governor Lilia Pineda.
Pineda said he hopes Balkman will learn from this experience.
“Sana talaga matutunan niyang maging mahinahon, pwede namang mag explain nang hindi nagwawala,” he said.