AN Ateneo supporter who admitted he was the one caught in viral photos flashing a dirty finger in the direction of the La Salle bench during Game Two of the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball finals issued an apology on Thursday.
In a letter addressed to the La Salle and Ateneo communities, the fan, identified as lawyer Ruel 'Chot' Kabigting, said he 'deeply regretted his unacceptable behavior' during Game Two of the finals which the Green Archers won, 92-83.
Kabigting, who La Salle team official and journalist Quinito Henson identified in an Instagram post as the deputy administrator for administration of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), explained that 'the intensity of the game got to me.'
"I am the man in the photos of the Ateneo crowd in Game 2 of the Finals yesterday. The photos have gone viral in social media and I can understand and accept your anger," wrote Kabigting in letter sent to longtime La Salle volunteer Dave Dichupa.
"I deeply regret and sincerely apologize from the heart for my unacceptable behavior and gesture of pointing a dirty finger at some La Salle players and the De La Salle bench during Game 2 of the Finals yesterday. The intensity of the game got into me," Kabigting added.
Kabigting, however, explained he reacted angrily after being tagged by members of the La Salle coaching staff as the one who threw a plastic water bottle into the court late in the game - an accusation he denied.
"I vehemently reacted when I was being pointed to by some of your coaching staff as the plastic bottle-thrower at the end of the game. Please let it be known though that I did not throw the plastic bottle or anyone in the De La Salle bench and crowd. I have never done this in my entire life, even against other schools when we were still in the NCAA.
"I am not a violent man. Even during the heated years of our rivalry back in the 1970s, I never participated in any of the violence and abhorred it. I never laid a hand or hurt any La Sallite or guys from other schools. I never vandalized your cars or any other properties," said Kabigting.
Kabigting added he regretted the incident especially because he also has friends from La Salle, mentioning the likes of actor Edu Manzano.
"I am a man of peace. Some of your prominent alumni, Edu Manzano for one during our younger years, and other DLSU alumni professionals and friends who I work and interact with today, know this very well. I also have friends and family members from the La Salle community who I care about.
"It is simply because of our deeply-rooted rivalry that I become passionately involved in the games, and perhaps, the extreme stress that I presently experience at work comes out during these heated moments," Kabigting said.
Kabigting vowed to conduct himself as a "true Christian gentleman" following the incident.
"So to you all, may I say, I am very sorry, and ask you to please accept this apology and forgive me. The lesson I have learned from this unfortunate incident will be etched in my soul for life, and I therefore commit to conduct myself as a true Christian gentleman at all times," said Kabigting.