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    Kib Montalbo comes clean on role in La Salle-FEU melee in Davao

    May 25, 2020

    EVEN the tamest players lose their cool sometimes.

    That's exactly the case in the Davao melee between La Salle and Far Eastern University in the 2017 Kadayawan Cup, which, it turned out, was sparked by Green Archers guard Kib Montalbo and Ken Tuffin of the Tamaraws.

    "Ako yung isa sa mga main stars noon," admitted Montalbo during Friday's Crossover Podcast with Cedelf Tupas.

    That game, still fresh in the minds of those who follow the rivalry between the two schools, saw the Green Archers guard and the Tamaraws sniper bump each other on a fastbreak, sparking the free-for-all.

    "Sa amin nagsimula yun. Nagkabangaan kami ni Tuffin pero yung bangga, normal lang ‘yun eh. Kasi pisikal din sila at first, pero laban lang kami," said Montalbo, now a PBA rookie at TNT KaTropa.

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    All hell broke loose from there, with players and even coaches getting involved in the ugly scene.

    Ron Dennison, thrown out of the game minutes prior, came rushing back to the court and was caught throwing a punch.

    Also joining win were FEU's Barkley Ebona and Axel Inigo, as well as La Salle's Brent Paraiso, Ricci Rivero and then-coach Aldin Ayo, who was seen grabbing Arvin Tolentino by the neck in the middle of the melee.

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    FEU was leading 73-59 with 20 seconds left in the third quarter when the organizers decided to scrap the match altogether.

    "Nung nagkabanggaan na, doon nagsimula yung gulo. Pero kung hindi nangyari yun, walang gulo," said the Ilonggo court general.

    UST, then under coach Boy Sablan, was eventually awarded the championship in the four-team pocket tournament.

    Tensions from that game, however, escalated to the La Salle-FEU duels in UAAP Season 80.

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    Up to this day, Andrei Caracut remains in disbelief how that incident started, given that he knows both Montalbo and Tuffin as mild-mannered.

    "Alam mo sino nag-start ng away? Yung dalawang mabait sa La Salle at FEU," shared the San Miguel Alab Pilipinas guard with a laugh. "Noong nagkukwento yung FEU, sinasabi nila na isa sa pinakamabait si Tuffin. Sa La Salle naman, isa sa pinakamabait si Kib."

    As much as they would rather forget memories of that fateful day at the Almendras Gym, Montalbo said that they've all learned their lessons from that experience.

    "First time ko yun. At least, naka-try na ako," he said with a grin. "But basketball is a small world na kahit kakampi mo dati, makakalaban mo."

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