PUERTO PRINCESA - In the last Philippine Cup semifinals, the showdown between the San Miguel Beer and Talk 'N Text got so physical it was marred by a flagrant foul called against Ranidel de Ocampo on Arwind Santos.
The incident, which saw de Ocampo under-cutting Santos after a dunk, nearly triggered a fight and prompted Commissioner Chito Salud to slap a P10,000 fine on the Tropang Texter.
Santos admitted he nearly lost his cool after the hard foul.
"Nasaktan din ako run eh. Sabi ko nga ready din ako mamisikal kasi alam ko naman ang tira sa depensa lang," said Santos, recalling the Game Two incident.
De Ocampo maintained his innocence on the "sahod" claim against him.
"Pisikalan lang 'yun. Ganun naman kami kada game, syempre dyan kami binabayaran eh. Natural lang na magkasakitan every game. Basketball yan eh," De Ocampo told Spin.ph.
"Pero after that, mas matimbang pa rin sa amin ang pagkakaibigan," added the Tanza, Cavite pride.
Fast forward to the 2015 PBA All Stars here in Puerto Princesa City Palawan, where, ironically, Santos and De Ocampo again found themselves as designated roommates.
And since the incident is still very much fresh in the memories of many including the two hardcourt rivals, Santos joked de Ocampo remained wary of retaliation.
"Hindi siya natutulog hanggat hindi ako tulog," Santos said with a laugh.
Turning serious, the 2013 PBA MVP assured that whatever happened between him and De Ocampo, they manage to leave it on the hardcourt and that they've put the incident behind them.
"Laro lang 'yan. Hindi naman namin dinidibdib yan," said Santos, stressing he is not the trash-talking type of player.
And how do the two star players from rival teams turn their time together into something productive?
Santos and De Ocampo said they have choreographed the dance steps for the North team in the pre-All Star Game dance off on Sunday.
"Nagtutulungan kami. Si Arwind pa nga nag-edit ng music. Ang galing nga eh. Composer pala talaga siya," said De Ocampo.
"May mga steps na binigay si Arwind, ako naman may mga na-suggest. Kumpleto na niya halos ang steps. Pwera na lang kung may idadagdag si Ping (Marc Pingris)," he said, setting his sights on the P100,000 top prize staked in the dance off.
And how do they spend the rest of the time inside their room at Aziza Hotel?
"Madalas nakikikinig kami ng mga kanta niya (Santos). Ang dami na pala nya composition. Magaganda lahat pero may isa akong gustong gusto sa mga kanta niya," said De Ocampo, mentioning the song 'Sawang Sawa na' as his favorite.
De Ocampo also explained one instance why he left the room shortly after Santos came in.
"Wala. Sakto nagpahangin ako nun. Tapos kausap niya kasi sa phone misis niya kaya lumabas ako para maka lakad lakad rin," he said, vowing to help Santos beat the Jamed Yap-led South team on Sunday in the midseason classic organized by the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation and the Coral Bay Nickel Corporations.
PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial said the room assignments are done randomly, although he admitted that most teammates normally end up as roommates.
"Lagi naman magkasama sa room si Arwind at Ranidel sa All Star. Natataon 'yan kasi laging kulang ang pares ng teams nila," said Marcial.
Asked if they are not afraid that the two might go at it inside the room, Marcial shook his head.
"Hindi naman ganyan mga players natin," he laughed.