GLOBALPORT's practice was so intense on Tuesday that it nearly ended in a scuffle between import Marcus Cummings and rookie big man Yousef Taha.
Sources told Spin.ph the two started to get on each other's nerves when Taha heckled Cummings after the wide-bodied import shot an air ball while being guarded by the well-travelled rookie.
The taunt obviously irked Cummings, who went hard on Taha in the next possession and had the young center biting on a fake.
Taha, witnesses said, went down hard on Cummings. The two teammates then got into a shoving match and were close to exchanging punches when cooler heads intervened.
"Sumakay kasi si Taha sa fake nung import, pero pagbagsak ni Taha, binigyan pa niya si Cummings. Ayun nagkatulakan na," the source said.
For Taha, it was the second time he got involved in a fight during practice this season. He also clashed against big man Romel Adducul of Globalport during a preseason game while he was still with Air21.
Ironically, the two ended being teammates at Globalport before Adducul retired to join the team's coaching staff beginning in the Governors' Cup.
(For full story, see Air21 rookie chased out of gym in third fight-marred preseason game)
Both players were immediately pacified and practice resumed after a few minutes, although the whole team was not spared from a tongue-lashing by coach Junel Baculi afterwards.
“Nangyari kasi masyado silang nagka-pikunan. Dahil siguro may game bukas. Sabi ko nga sa kanila huwag mapipikon kasi gagawin ng kalaban iyan eh,” said Baculi, whose team takes on San Mig Coffee on Wednesday.
“Pero talagang pinagalitan ko ang team,” the fiery mentor added. “Kailangan may passion kami pero we have to check our emotion especially sa practice.
“We’re on the same team. Dapat we sacrifice and care for each of our teammate!”
Still, Baculi sees the incident as a positive sign especially since the Batang Pier are coming off a humbling loss to Talk `N Tex last Sunday.
“Ang importante we’re growing together. The team is building chemistry together. Hopefully mag-translate to energy sa mga kalaban bukas,” said Baculi. “Okay naman. Nagkabati rin sila. All's well that ends well.”
Team owner Mikee Romero said the incident mirrored a deeper desire by the team to win.
“Okay sa akin yun. At least I know hindi sila nagpapa-petiks kahit sa practice. Pero siyempre dapat alam nila limitations. It will make them tougher. Dyan lalabas yung gusto kong angas,” said the team owner.
“Intensity lang ng laro yun. Pero pagkatapos I’m sure nagkamayan rin ang mga yan!”