CHRIS Lutz was quick to play down the physical plays and trash-talking between him and Mark Caguioa that served as one of the sidelights of the bruising 98-95 win by Petron over sister team Barangay Ginebra in Sunday’s main game of the PBA Philippine Cup.
“Nothing personal at all, It’s just a battle between two competitive people trying to keep their team going,” said Lutz afterwards.
The crowd of more than 13,000 at the Mall of Asia Arena got on its feet in the second period as Lutz and Caguioa went one-on-one against each other in several instances. Twice, the Petron sophomore guard got knocked down on the floor and had into a heated exchange of words with the league’s reigning MVP.
Caguioa won the personal battle with a team-high 23 points and six rebounds, although Lutz didn’t do too badly either, with 18 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
But the Kings lost the war as the Boosters sent them tumbling to their third straight loss after opening the all-Filipino conference with back-to-back wins.
Lutz said there’s nothing Caguioa did to him that took away his concentration.
“Both of us we’re just playing hard, playing physical, just talking a little bit, but really nothing personal about it,” Lutz said.
Petron coach Olsen Racela also said Lutz’s intensity inside the court is just part of him being a natural "competitor."
“Ganun talaga siya maglaro. Kailangan talaga is to calm him down and just to remind him na mag-relax lang siya and to play his normal game,” said Racela.
“That’s part of basketball especially if you’re up against Mark Caguioa.”
But as proof that he has no ax to grind with Caguioa, the former Smart Gilas-Pilipinas stalwart also had some nice words for the fiery Barangay Ginebra superstar after the game.
“He’s a good person to look up to. After the game, and actually even during the second half, he came over to me and kept telling me to keep on playing hard,” said Lutz of his small conversation with `The Spark.'