BARAKO Bull coach Koy Banal insisted the Jordan national team - and not his squad - started the melee that marred their tune-up game on Saturday morning at Green Meadows Gym in Quezon City.
Barako rookie big man Michael Miranda and Jordanian slotman Mohammed Shaher Hussein swapped cheap shots off a timeout with five minutes left in the exhibition that was halted with Jordan on top, 73-60.
“I don’t think it’s true that they did not start it. Actually, they are the ones who initiated it,” Banal said in a chat after practice on Monday, denying a claim made to Spin.ph by Jordan coach Rajko Toroman.
Banal said they have video evidence to prove what happened in the fight that came off a timeout to douse a Jordanian momentum after they went on a 10-0 blast.
“Makikita niyo sa tape, dalawa yun (Jordanian) magkatabi mag-teammate eh. Andito siya (Hussein) sa inner side. Lumayo na yung isa. Eh dumikit pa siya tapos binangga niya ng balikat eh.”
“Si Mike naman, nung nakita niya, prinotektahan niya yung sarili niya,” he added of the 6-foot-5 Miranda. “So maybe he thought na binangga din ni Mike siya. Hineadbutt ngayon.”
“May lumalabas kasi na yung player daw namin yung nag-head butt,” Banal continued. “Paano naman ma-hehead butt yung seven-footer ng six-five? So nung hindead butt si Mike, umusli na yung kamay niya.”
That was when Banal came in to stop the fight, only to get hit and knocked down in the process.
“Pumasok ako. Hinabol niya ngayon si Mike. At pag ilag ni Mike, tinamaan na ako.”
“Aawat lang naman ako dahil nakita ko nagsapakan at argabyado yung bata ko,” he added. “I had to protect. Parang tinamaan kaagad ako eh. Syempre pag ikaw tinamaan, that’s natural instinct.”
“Kung kilala niyo ako, hindi yun ang tinuturo namin sa player namin,” he continued. “Sa prinsipyo ko, I’m not teaching you, guys, to hurt people, to be rough. I’m just telling you to be tough. But we’re not going to back down. if they’re going to challenge us, we will be there.”
But Banal, who sustained a sprained and bruises, was quick to move on.
“The reminder to the team is to forget about it,” he said. “Let’s close this one and let’s move forward. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
A takeaway from the game was that Banal believes Jordan will be no match for Gilas Pilipinas when the two countries possibly meet in the knockout phase of the Fiba Asia Championship.
“Oo naman,” Banal said.