FROM a raging bull just the night before, Joe Devance was as meek as a lamb when he came face-to-face with PBA commissioner Chito Salud on Thursday afternoon.
And he was man enough to admit it was his fault that triggered the bench-clearing incident between San Mig Coffee and Globalport during Wednesday’s Governors Cup game at the Astrodome.
Devance emerged from his 15-minute meeting with Salud apologetic when he faced the media before leaving the PBA office in Libis, Quezon City.
“It was a good meeting (with Salud). I said my side. I know I’m still at a fault on that because I made it a bigger situation rather than what could have been,” said Devance, one of four players summoned by the commissioner to his office to shed light on the first on-court fistfight to mar Salud's term.
The 6-foot-7 Devance, who already figured in two scuffles this conference alone against Alaska rookie Calvin Abueva and Talk `N Text guard Pamboy Raymundo, said he had no intention to hurt anyone when all hell broke loose at the 3:11 mark of the third period.
He said his only goal was to try to defend San Mig import Marqus Blakely, who went down hard on the floor together with Globalport’s Marvin Hayes as the two jockeyed for rebounding position.
“It was just one of those things that if you see your brother getting hit, you will go to his aid. It was just in a different circumstance because we’re on TV. I should have thought of that, but I just saw a friend getting hit, so I’m gonna help him out,” added DeVance.
The No. 1 pick overall in the 2008 rookie draft said he’s leaving his fate in the hands of Salud.
“I don’t know what will happen with me and Ping (Marc Pingris), but whatever his (Salud’s) decision is, I will respect,” said the 31-year-old lefty forward.
Pingris, who engaged Globalport rookie center Kelly Nabong in a one-on-one fistfight, also said he’s ready to face the consequences of his actions, even if it would mean paying a hefty fine and facing suspension.
“Nakita ko lang nagkatulakan, pero nabigla lang naman lahat. Wala namang planong magka-suntukan. Kahit si Com (Salud) ayaw niya ng ganun (fistfight). Basketball lang naman nilalaro namin di boksing,” said the national team member, who met with Salud for about an hour after going through the video tape and airing his side.
Pingris vowed not to be involved in any melee in the future, saying he has already learned his lessons.
“Pag nagkataon na mangyari uli yun, lalayo na lang ako, saka ako mismo hahawak sa mga teammates ko na huwag na patulan `yung ganung bagay,” said the son-in-law of popular TV host and comedian Vic Sotto.
“Kami ang model sa mga kabataan eh, sana maganda ipakita namin,” added a remorseful Pingris.