IF and when rookie Kelly Nabong is slapped a fine for his role in the melee that marred the Globalport-San Mig game on Wednesday night, Batang Pier big boss Mikee Romero has expressed willingness to shoulder it.
One of the richest men in the country according to Forbes magazine, the 40-year old businessman told Spin.ph he immediately gave Nabong the assurance when his rookie forward approached him shortly after the fracas.
(For full story, go to Pingris, Nabong face stiff sanctions after trading punches in chaotic PBA game)
“Yun talaga ang una kong sinabi nung nilapitan ako ni Kelly. Kasi nakita ko na takot siya at nahihiya sa akin. I saw everything that happened,” Romero said.
“Lumapit siya sa akin, sabi niya. ‘Boss, I am sorry.' Kaya tinawag ko siya. Sabi ko, ‘Don’t worry, you stood your ground. I won’t tolerate seeing you backing down.'”
“Kaya nung inakap niya ako, I told him, ‘if you will be penalized, I will pay for it. All you have to worry about now is how to defend yourself,'” he added.
Romero refused to say on who he feels should be blamed for the melee, saying he would rather wait for the PBA Commissioner’s Office to come up with its ruling, perhaps as early as Thursday.
But the Sultan 900, Incorporated chieftain insisted he would have been angrier at his players had they allowed themselves to be intimidated during the incident.
“Hindi kami nagsisimula ng away. Hindi ko rin kinukunsinti yun. Pero pag inaway kami, lalaban kami,” stressed Romero, a third-dan black belter and a longtime arnis practicioner.
“Although we are a rookie team, hindi kami pwedeng ma-bully. And I won’t take bullying sitting down,” he reiterated. “Kahit sino pa sila … hindi namin sila aatrasan."
(For podcast of Mikee Romero interview, click here)
Romero continued: “It just so happened na si Nabong, despite him being a rookie, nakita ko na hindi siya basta-basta magpapa-bully.
“Hindi ko kinukunsinte ang mga players, they play rugged and rough. But that’s basketball!”
Asked if he thinks Nabong initiated the melee, Romero replied: ‘Tingin ko, dinepensahan niya lang ang sarili niya. Laro yan eh, talagang magkakasakitan yan.”
Romero then fired a warning.
“Sa mga nag-aakalang bagito at bubugoy-bugoy ang players ko, sorry sila. Hindi kami aatras, lalo ngayon itong lineup na nabuo ko puro pitbull at askal (asong kalye) ito,” he said.