Rico Maierhofer no goody two shoes, but insists 'shoe-palpal' a smart play 
Rico Maierhofer blocks a shot by Gabby Espinas using a shoe. Jerome Ascano

RICO Maierhofer believes his wacky shoe antic on Wednesday was a smart play that bore fruit for Barako Bull.

The defensive-minded power forward used his right shoe to block a short stab by San Miguel Beer counterpart Gabby Espinas in the second quarter of the Energy’s 116-113 loss to San Miguel Beer in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

“Oo (smart play), naka-stop kami eh and then naka-fast break,” Maierhofer said as the play, hilarious as it was, led to a breakaway layup by teammate Joseph Yeo on the other end.

[See Is Maierhofer 'shoe-palpal' attempt legal? PBA official gives take]

The six-year league veteran said he didn’t want to commit a foul as the Energy were already in the penalty.

“Sayang yung pag finoul mo yung opponent, so tuloy-tuloy lang yung play,” he said, adding it was a split-second decision he had to make after his neon green size-13 KD 7 shoe was removed following his layup attempt in the previous play.

“Pag dedepensa, gamit mo yung kamay mo, eh nagkataon na hawak ko rin 'yung sapatos ko, so kasama siya,” the 6-foot-5 beanpole said.

Maierhofer is also unapologetic over the play that caught a lot of online buzz.

“Hindi ko siya kino-consider na embarrassing kasi ongoing 'yung play, so kaming player, kahit anong mangyari, play defense pa rin kami,” the former De La Salle stalwart said.

Espinas simply lauded Maierhofer for, well, thinking on his feet.

“Nakita mo 'yung effort niya na habulin yung tira,” he said, adding he didn’t mind getting blocked by a shoe.

“Okay lang, walang problema ‘yun,” he insisted. “Hindi ko naman trabaho umiskor. Depensa ang trabaho ko dito.”

“Actually, hindi ko naman talaga siya ititira eh,” Espinas was quick to add. “Ipapasa ko kay Arwind, kaso natamaan ng sapatos, so hindi niya nakuha.”


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos