PUREFOODS Star forward Joe Devance said the shouting match that marred the end of Game Two wouldn’t have happened had Talk 'N Text import Ivan Johnson chosen to head straight to the dugout instead of waiting for Marc Pingris in the Big Dome hallway.
Devance said he saw the 6-foot-7 Johnson hurl choice words against Pingris just as the Purefoods Star forward was heading to the team’s dugout, moments after the Tropang Texters took Game Two, 92-77.
“It was nothing big, but it just turned out to something little bit bigger than what it was because I saw him (Johnson) waiting at the tunnel,” recalled Devance.
“He could have just walked in the locker room, but he waited for Ping (Pingris) to come back and he had just a few choice of words, and then that’s when everything kinda escalated.”
The verbal exchange eventually attracted players from both camps including Purefoods' import for the Governors Cup, Marqus Blakely, who soon joined the fray.
Security personnel and PBA commissioner Chito Salud immediately stepped in to break up the fracas before Purefoods coach Tim Cone herded his players back to the dugout.
“We all know he’s a hothead. We were just saying, ‘Quit talking’. The game is over. Go back to your locker room.' But he just continued to talk,” added the 6-foot-7 Devance.
On the other hand, Pingris said he chose to control his emotions after the game because he wouldn’t want to get fined nor lose his focus in the semifinal series, which is now tied at 1-all.
“Wala. Di ko nga pinansin eh. Sabi ko, ‘Joe, let’s go.' Kung matapang siya (Johnson), eh di susuntukin na lang ako, pero hayaan ko na lang. Ayaw ko ma-fine, gusto ko lang manalo,” said Pingris, whose was caught holding a folding chair during the post-game incident.
The energetic Purefoods forward declined to elaborate why he had the chair in his hand, except to say that he got it from teammate James Yap.
Spin.ph tried to get the side of Johnson, but the mercurial Talk 'N Text declined to speak as he hurriedly left the Big Dome, accompanied by his wife and two kids.
Game Three is set on Thursday, 7 p.m., also at the Big Dome.