WHILE saying he didn't agree with JR Quiñahan’s action, Jireh Ibañes said he appreciated his Rain or Shine teammate for leaping to his defense in Game Four of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against Talk ‘N Text on Wednesday night.
Quiñahan threw the ball at the face of Matt Ganuelas-Rosser after the Talk ‘N Text rookie forward tackled Ibañes over the railing and into the front row of courtside early in the fourth quarter of the heated game which the Texters won, 99-92.
“It may not be right sa mga mata ng tao, pero teammates kami eh and we are a family,” Ibañes told Spin.ph on Thursday at the PBA office after appearing alongside Quiñahan before commissioner Chito Salud.
“It may not be the right decision in that situation, pero we protect each other,” the University of the Philippines product added. “And that’s something na in-a-admire ko kay JR na he had my back.
“At ganun din gagawin namin sa isa’t-isa.”
Quiñahan, who was fined P50,000 and suspended for Game Five on Friday, declined to comment anew.
“Pass muna ulit. Mahirap na, (nadadamay) 'yung mga asawa eh,” he said without elaborating.
Ibañes did apologize on behalf of his teammate at Rain or Shine, which, for so long, is known to have one of the most closely-knit group of players in the pro league.
“It happened. Emotions are high, so sorry nangyari ‘yun,” the 33-year-old cager said. “Pero thankful ako na 'yung teammate ko will back me up kahit anong mangyari.”
“Wag naman sana (mangyari ulit), pero we will always support and help each other,” he added. “Pero sana 'wag na maulit ang 'wag na umabot sa ganung sitwasyon.”
Ibañes likewise said he respects the decision of the league to fine him P40,000 for getting involved in the incident with Ganuelas-Rosser.
“Walang problema sa akin ‘yun,” he said. “Desisyon ng Commissioner’s Office at liga ‘yun. It’s their call. I’m willing to pay that.”
Asked if he deserved at least a lesser fine, the nine-year league veteran said he wasn’t in a position to answer.
“I just respect that,” he said. “And thankful nga ako na sinabi ni commissioner na they will do everything; they will stay on top of it and will make the necessary calls.”