IN the end, Kelly Nabong's passion for the game may have caught up with him again.
Sources at Globalport said Nabong's constant emotional outburst on the court just became too much of a burden for the team, leaving the Batang Pier with no choice but to let go of the eccentric power forward.
"Medyo," one of the team insiders said when asked if Nabong's court behavior forced the hand of the Batang Pier to deal the Fil-Am big man to San Miguel on Thursday for Gabby Espina and a 2020 second-round draft pick.
The trade came less than 24 hours after Nabong was ejected in a 135-108 loss to Phoenix on Wednesday in the PBA Commissioners Cup - an ironic end to a brief but momentous time with the Batang Pier.
The native of Sacramento, California was scoreless from the field and finished with just a single point. Worse, he was ejected late in the third period for incurring a technical foul and likewise called for a flagrant foul penalty one against Phoenix rookie Jason Perkins.
It was the second ejection in a month for Nabong after likewise being banished in Globalport's game against Rain or Shine for pushing Maverick Ahanmisi from behind during a mad scramble for the ball.
In the last Philippine Cup, he also got into a shouting match with Phoenix coach Louie Alas and was likewise ejected.
The series of incidents were more or less expected given Nabong's colorful career. He in fact became available for GlobalPort after a shouting match with then Meralco assistant Jimmy Alapag led to his exit from the Bolts.
Nabong, the 17th pick overall by Rain or Shine in the 2012 PBA draft, started to spread his wings under the tutelage of Norman Black at Meralco and blossomed under Pido Jarencio at GlobalPort.
At the time of the trade, Nabong was solid for the Batang Pier with averages of 7.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 27.7 minutes per game in the ongoing PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Despite the constant meltdowns, he became a key part of the Batang Pier core while thriving under the system of Jarencio who Nabong credited for his renaissance.
“I love coach Pido. I love him. We’re like twins, kalbo,” he said.
So did he really wear out his welcome at GlobalPort?
Insiders said GlobalPort had no plan to let go of Nabong until the trade came along, meaning it was San Miguel which pursued the volatile big man to beef up an already formidable frontline.
"It is what it is," said the insider, declining to reveal more.