VETERAN NLEX big man Enrico Villanueva played down his brief skirmish with Alaska import Romeo Travis during the two teams’ PBA Governors Cup game Tuesday night, saying the incident was nothing more than ‘mind games’ between two players.
Villanueva and Travis banged bodies later in the second quarter of the match, something which didn’t sit well with the left-handed import who pushed back the NLEX center that caused the former Ateneo star to fall.
Travis was whistled for a personal foul just as NLEX Syrian import Michel Madanly knocked down a three-pointer from the top of the key, which the referees counted.
Villanueva went on and made the extra foul shot to complete a rare four-point play.
He later dismissed the brief physical exchange, saying its ‘part of the game.’
“Wala naman yun eh. Import yun (Travis) and nakita ko he was tired, so I just tried to see na pang-inis na rin ng konti. Pero kung ano nangyari kanina, part of the game lang iyun,” Villanueva told Spin.ph.
“I got a foul. I got what I wanted, and I got an extra free throw after Mike made the basket. I just did my job. Bonus na iyun,” he added.
The Alaska bench actually raised a howl of protest when Travis was called for a foul.
Villanueva also an exchange of words with Alaska assistant coaches Jeffrey Cariaso and Louie Alas, but the 34-year-old big man was quick to shrug it off.
“Ganun lang naman 'yun eh. Saka wala naman 'yun kasi mga kasabayan ko din sila Jeff. That’s normal. Mind games lang 'yun and puro salita lang,” he stressed.
Villanueva said being NLEX’s co-captain, it is his job to keep the intensity high whenever he comes in to relieve starting slotman Asi Taulava.
“I just have to give quality minutes when Asi sits on the bench, and at the same time, lead as a veteran kasi kaming dalawa ni Asi ang captain,” explained the one-time Best Player of the Conference awardee.
“So siguro, yung leadership lang at saka yung guidance sa mga bata. Importante is we hold our team together, kesa magwatak-watak, kailangan kausapin sila,” he added.