GLOBALPORT rookie Kelly Nabong said he wholeheartedly accepted the two-game ban imposed on him by PBA commissioner Chito Salud for his role in Wednesday night's brawl.
“Commissioner made his decision, I have to accept it. I have no choice. Atleast that’s only two games. I look forward to playing better next time,” said the 24-year-old Fil-American, who was also slapped with a P60,000 fine on top of the two-game suspension.
(For full story, see Pingris, Nabong suspended two games, fined P60,000 each)
Nabong has one question in his mind, though.
“Two games (suspension) and 60 grand is fair … atleast for me. But why is it the same with him (Marc Pingris)?” Nabong said of the San Mig forward, who was fined the same amount and banned for the same number of games as the player he punched.
“I guess, my face hitting his fist was like the story of it,” Nabong added.
Nabong said he suffered a busted lip after the solid punch thrown at him by Pingris.
“I thought he would get a little more time suspended - for throwing two punches at a player’s face,” he added. “But it’s all okay. Commissioner has decided. I respect that!”
The wide-bodied banger also shared how he defended himself before Salud during his summon.
“I told the commissioner, I was just there to help Marvin (Hayes) who was lying on the floor. I saw Marqus Blakely and Joe Devance charging. Then Marc Pingris came out of nowhere and punched me.”
“I had no intentions of punching nobody. I didn’t even see Pingris coming. During that time, I really had no intentions to fight,” said Nabong. “I was even surprised at their rancor, they were leading by 20 (points)."
Though he insisted he did not throw a punch, Nabong admitted letting out a knee kick on Pingris, which he learned watching his MMA idol, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon 'Bones' Jones.
Meanwhile, Nabong, a second-round pick of Meralco in this year's draft, admitted feeling sorry for having been involved in a controversy of this magnitude at a very early stage of his PBA career.
The former Sta. Rosa Jayce University forward said he no longer holds any rancor towards Pingris and is open to striking up a friendship with the Mixers star.
“Yeah, that’s a possibility. We can be associates, maybe one day. Whatever misunderstanding or anger, if there was I had against Ping, it’s gone with the final buzzer last Wednesday,” he added.
“There was never no grudge to begin with. I had no hard feelings at him at all. It’s basketball and he was just protecting his teammates, same way I am trying to protect mine."
Asked about the next time the two teams face off again, Nabong said: “There might be a little tension, but nothing like what happened before, though. But me initiating another one, that won’t happen. I am not a dirty player!”