PBA commissioner Chito Salud's message to Globalport players Kelly Nabong and Marvin Hayes was plain and simple – he doesn’t want to see both of them in his office again.
Salud met with the two on Thursday afternoon to hear their side on the harrowing melee that marred the Batang Pier’s Governors Cup game the day before with San Mig Coffee at the Astrodome.
After a brief talk and a review of the game tape that took no less than an hour, the amiable chief sent both Nabong and Hayes off with the hope of not seeing them again in his office at the league headquarters in Libis.
“Sinabi niya sa akin na ayaw na nya akong makita uli dito (PBA office),” said Hayes, a free agent signing. “Ako din naman ayaw ko nang maulit ito. Gusto ko lang naman maglaro. Nakakahiya din kasi sa mga fans ng PBA.”
For his part, Nabong admitted his mistake and vowed not to do the same thing again, saying his action has put his team, his coach, management, and the league in a very bad light.
“I kind of worsened the situation,” said the 24-year-old second-round pick and 17th overall in last year’s rookie draft, who was a central figure in the fracas as he exchanged punches with San Mig’s Marc Pingris.
“But I just want to apologize to everybody, to the fans, our team owner Mikee Romero, the players and my coach (Junel Baculi) and also, I want to apologize to Marc Pingris, to the (San Mig) import (Marqus Blakely) and especially to Joe Devance. I’m sorry it went down that way,” a very apologetic Nabong said just before leaving the PBA office.
The well-built rookie was caught on television video throwing a punch and a knee as he pulled Pingris’ jersey when he came to the aid of the fallen Hayes, who was shoved hard earlier by San Mig’s Devance.
The 6-foot-1 Hayes, who also left the league office in haste, said the heat of the moment took the best out of him, especially after being entangled several times with import Blakely, whom he had the unenviable job of defending during the second half.
“Ako na kasi ang dedepensa sa import. Eh napikon din siguro siya (Blakely) sa akin, kasi yung unang drive niya sa third quarter, pareho kaming bumagsak. Tapos may dalawang beses pa uli na nagka-banggaan kami,” narrated Hayes, a 2011 second-round draft pick of Alaska.
“Nung third time, nagulat ako kasi na-take-down niya ako. Eh ayaw ko din naman ng ganun, siyempre, tumaas na din temper ko kaya medyo nabagsakan ko siya ng siko sa ulo. Nagulat lang ako kasi bigla akong tinulungan ni Kelly,” he added.