MALCOLM White felt Raymond Almazan’s hit on his face late in the game was in retaliation to the GlobalPort import’s own hit on Chris Tiu earlier in the Batang Pier’s 96-90 loss to Rain or Shine in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday night.
While playing defense with his arms up with a little less than seven minutes left in the game, White hit Tiu on the face that left the ROS playmaker down on the floor with a busted and bloodied lip – an incident that the Batang Pier import insisted was an accident.
“I didn't do that purposely,” White said. “You know, I was just trying to … it was just the motion of my arm. I was just boxing out and somebody was there. I guess, he was right there by my arm. I didn't even know I did it, until [Tiu] came back and I'd seen the blood.”
“I was going to apologize, tell him, 'Hey man, sorry. I didn't mean to do it.' But, they took it the wrong way and they put a player in and hit out on me,” he added.
That player, White felt, turned out to be Almazan, who hit him on the face with a shoulder after a shift of possession down the stretch.
“They sent Raymond in, I jumped for the ball and he took his shoulder, busted my lip and hit me up in my chin. That was dirty,” White said. “I'm not a dirty player, I'm just a physical player, that's it.”
Almazan and White's argument actually went beyond the game, as the two figured in a verbal sparring that took place in the hallway leading out of the dugouts.
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The two rivals were separated before anything serious happened.
“Parang sabi niya sa akin, ‘C’mon now.’ Sabi ko, ‘It’s up to you, man.’ Wala sa akin ‘yun. Sa kanya na lang ‘yun. Hindi naman ako aatras sa kanya,” said Almazan of the incident.
White, who registered 21 points, eight boards, two assists, and two steals, against six turnovers before fouling out after just 27 minutes of play, felt the entire game was intense as a postseason game.
“We were just fighting, man. That's all it was,” White said. “Playoff atmosphere game and it was just a physical game. That's all I can say about that.”
And he’s eager to meet the E-Painters again in the postseason if possible.
“If they want to take it that (dirty) way, then hey, we'll see them again in the playoffs hopefully,” the hulking import concluded.