GLOBALPORT cager Kelly Nabong said he was only protecting his teammate when he pushed Maverick Ahanmisi from behind in an incident that led to their ejection on Sunday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Nabong and Ahanmisi were both thrown out after a heated exchange during a fracas that started when Sean Anthony jumped on Beau Belga in a battle for a loose ball with 3:20 left in the fourth quarter.
Nabong said his instinct was to help his teammate after seeing Ahanmisi jump on Anthony.
“My teammate Sean Anthony went to the ground, trying to get a jump ball from Belga. He jumped to the ball, they called a foul, play is over with. Sean tried to get up, Maverick Ahanmisi came over and pushed him back to the ground,” Nabong said.
“Me, as a teammate, I’m looking, the play is over with. Why would you push another guy when the play was over with? I’m going to protect my team, my coaches, management. I’m going to push him, get him away from him, and that’s it,” he said.
For his part, Ahanmisi said he was only trying to help Belga.
“Sean jumped on Beau and I did the same thing. I jumped on top of Sean, try to get (him) off Beau. Kelly wasn’t even on the pay. I just got shoved in the back. Who isn’t going to get mad at that?”
Ahanmisi felt Nabong was out of line when he pushed him.
“He is known for fighting in the game so I don’t have any problem with him. I just thought it was an out of play move shoving me like that,” said Ahanmisi.
Nabong denied he was out to pick up a fight during the incident.
“I don’t start fights. I don’t do it. I don’t start it. I just end it and protect. That’s it,” said Nabong.
Ahanmisi said he was surprised that he was ejected from the game.
“I mean, you can give me a technical for second motion but you are throwing me out for fighting and I had nothing to do with the situation. Kelly pushed me in the back. I have no problem with him until that moment. I don’t know why they threw me out.”
Nabong said he hoped the referees had called the game much tighter when the action became more physical.
“Whole game was a little physical I hoped they protected the players a little bit better because people were throwing elbows. They would have called the game a little tighter but at the end of the day, they called a flagrant foul and kicked me out.
"I can’t do anything about it now. Game is over, move on to the next game,” he added.