VIC Manuel and Ping Exciminiano insisted they didn’t play for pay in the “larong labas” they took part in that led to their suspension, but nevertheless apologized to Alaska and its fans for violating team and PBA rules.
The Aces duo disclosed they were invited to play in a mere charity game last Sunday night, the proceeds of which went to an ailing friend of former pro Leo Avenido, who also saw action.
“Wala, wala (bayad),” Manuel told SPIN.ph after practice on Friday. “Charity game yun.”
“Hindi naman seryoso yung laro … Hindi naman ligang labas na ano,” the star forward added. “Nahiya kaming hindi mag-oo kay Leo kasi kaibigan namin.”
Still, they violated rules that resulted in their one-game suspension imposed by the team which they will serve in their Philippine Cup game against San Miguel Beer on Saturday.
Exciminiano said he would rather put the incident behind him.
“Wala ng magawa, nangyari na yung ganun, so let’s move forward na lang,” Exciminiano said. “Gusto ko mag-apologize sa Alaska Aces fans dahil nakagawa ako ng isang maling bagay na hindi allowed sa organization. Nagsisisi ako dun and magandang gawin is be positive sa mga susunod na araw dahil syempre crucial na yung mga games eh.”
“Hindi na kailangan maulit yun at hindi na mauulit yun, dahil ayaw ko na,” the cat-quick playmaker added with a smile.
What has been an anticipated finals rematch against the Beermen has lost its luster as the Aces are coming in as a heavy underdog owing to a depleted roster with a few others on the injured list.
“Siguro lesson na rin sa amin yun, kasi nagsu-suffer yung team,” Manuel said. “Alam namin na kailangan kami ng team sa game bukas tapos San Miguel pa kalaban.”
“Bawat game naman importante eh,” Exciminiano said for his part. “Kasi kung wala ka dun, magbabago yung rotation at maiiba yung flow ng game.”
“Pero bilib naman ako sa team ko na lalaban sila,” the scrappy guard added.
Manuel echoed his teammate's words.
“Good luck na lang sa team,” Manuel said. “Alam ko naman lalaban sila kahit kulang-kulang kami. Nandun lang kami sa likod nila. Support na lang kami bukas.”