PHOENIX assistant coach Nic Belasco apologized for figuring in a commotion with Rain or Shine import Shawn Taggart at the end of the teams’ PBA Commissioner’s Cup matchup on Wednesday night.
As players and coaches from both teams shook each other’s hands following the E-Painters’ stunning come-from-behind 96-94 win, Belasco confronted Taggart, hitting him on the face, before being separate by cooler heads.
“It was a really competitive basketball game, so there’s a lot of competition, tempers flaring, and you know, it was a man’s game,” Belasco said after the game. “Rain or Shine outplayed us and things happened. It’s unfortunate. I apologize for being part of that.”
“I don’t want to do anything bad to hurt the league or Phoenix or Rain or Shine,” he added. “That’s the only thing I really regret about – shedding bad light on the PBA.”
League commissioner Chito Narvasa summoned Belasco in his office after the game.
Asked if Taggart did anything to trigger the emotions, Belasco hinted it was the frustrations on the Fuel Masters’ giving up a 17-point lead.
“I’m not going to put blame on anybody,” Belasco said. “They came back and won a really competitive game. We were up by seventeen, so everything that happened after the game, it’s on video. Everyone can make their own opinions about it, but I’m not going to blame anyone.”
Taggart politely declined to talk with reporters after the game.
“No interviews,” he said as he went out of the Big Dome hall. “I know why (you’re going to talk to me).”
“Go talk to him,” he added, obviously referring to Belasco.