FRUSTRATION over officiating got the better of Kelly Nabong that resulted in his ejection late in the first half of Globalport’s PBA Philippine Cup game against Phoenix Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The eccentric forward incessantly complained about two consecutive non-calls that netted him two technical fouls for an outright ejection.
The incident took place at the 2:32 mark of the second quarter and the Fuel Masters in command, 52-35.
Initially, the 29-year-old Fil-Am was asking for a foul after complaining that he was hit on the knee during a play. And then in the next possession, after snaring the offensive rebound off a miss by Terrence Romeo, Nabong went up to shoot, only for Doug Kramer to tap the ball away from him.
After not getting any calls, the Globalport big man finally snapped. He confronted referee Jimmy Mariano, and later on, got into a heated exchanged with Phoenix coach Louie Alas.
Nabong was then assessed his first technical for profane language, and then a second one for disrespectfully addressing an official to get ejected out of the game.
“Don’t touch me, don’t touch me,” Nabong said as he ignored even his own coach Pido Jarencio and teammate Sean Anthony after being called with back-to-back Ts.
The loss of its top rebounder was a big blow to Globalport’s campaign especially with the Batang Pier fighting for the remaining quarterfinals berth in the all-Filipino conference.
Later asked what Nabong told him, Alas had a big smile on his face.
“F@#% you daw,” he said. “OK lang. Part of the game.”
Shortly after halftime, Nabong, best remembered for his outburst against Jimmy Alapag in the Meralco bench during Game 1 of the Governors Cup semifinals last year against Star, left the Big Dome without talking to reporters.
He was scoreless in 16 minutes of play, but already had a total of eight rebounds.