MERALCO center James Sena made it clear on Tuesday that he had no intention to hurt San Mig Super Coffee Marc Pingris during their highly physical match at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-5 Sena appeared to have elbowed Pingris during one sequence under San Mig’s goal, a move that drew the ire of the energetic Mixers forward who retaliated by throwing a punch at the back of the Meralco slotman.
“Kasi imbes na si Mario (West) yung a-up screen sa akin, nasa gilid na siya, ako na nag-down screen, so paglabas ni Ping, parang natamaan yata siya,” recalled Sena, shortly after the team dropped its fourth straight match in the Governors Cup via 90-118 loss to San Mig.
“Pagtalikod ko, sinuntok na niya (Pingris) ako. Huminto ako at sinabi ko sa ref, nanuntok na siya,” added the native of San Fernando, La Union.
Sena swears that what happened in that play that halted the game during the 3:15 mark of the second period, was all part of the physicality of basketball.
“Naka-focus lang kasi ako sa laro, eh basketball naman eh may contact so natamaan lang siya pag screen ko. Hindi naman tumawag yung ref, pero di ko intention na saktan siya,” said the former Jose Rizal Heavy Bomber big man, sounding apologetic.
Pingris was slapped with flagrant foul 2 that meant an automatic ejection. He was holding on to his left rib in obvious pain while leaving the court.