DE La Salle team manager Terry Capistrano broke his silence on the incident between him and Far Eastern University coach Nash Racela, saying he had no intention of instigating a confrontation at the end of the Tamaraws' win over the Green Archers in their playoff for the No. 2 seeding in the UAAP Final Four.
Meeting at mid-court for the customary post-game handshakes, Capistrano said he only questioned Racela about his on-game 'hand gestures' which he felt could send emotions flaring during the tense match which the Tamaraws won, 65-60, on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Actually, I did not even approach him. Siya 'yung lumapit sa akin to shake my hand and then I asked him the question: ‘Bakit para kang naghahamon ng away?’” said Capistrano in an interview with Spin.ph.
“Siguro people inside the court thought nag-aaway kami. Kaya they approached us. Pinaghiwalay kami,” he added. “Pero wala akong intension makipag-away. Ito ba namang tanda ko na ito.
“I was just curious to ask what was that (gesture) all about,” Capistrano said without a hint of anger in his voice. “It was a question. He knows that. Walang murahan. Walang sigawan. He never said anything uncivil, I never said anything uncivil.”
Racela, who earlier said he was stunned by Capistrano's action, sounded relieved when told about the side of the longtime La Salle team manager regarding the incident, which the FEU coach said could have been a case of misinterpretation.
“That’s good. I am happy to hear na okay na siya (Capistrano). Pero if ever they saw something wrong with my actuations, I ask for their understanding. Wala sa intension ko 'yun (humanap ng gulo),” said the brother of Barangay Ginebra assistant coach Olsen Racela.
Capistrano claimed it is not in his nature to engage people in confrontations, pointing out that he has never been involved in any untoward incident in the past 13 years that he has been team manager of the Green Archers.
“Alam mo 12 years, 13 years na akong manager ng team na ito. Pero never ako natawagan ng technical foul, because I know how to behave. I know how to control my temper,” he said.
Capistrano was actually the manager of La Salle when a similar incident happened during Game One of the 2005 Finals between the Archers and the Tamaraws.
His assistant team manager, Manny Salgado, approached then FEU star Arwind Santos shortly after the game for the customary handshake, but then tapped the unsuspecting lanky forward hard on the nape when he finally turned his back.
Good thing, Santos and the rest of the Tamaraws were prevented from ganging up on Salgado, who was later meted a lifetime ban by the league.
“Yes, I was there when it happened. Of all people, I would know that (repercussions of misbehavior),” Capistrano declared.
Capistrano said he would have approached Racela even if the outcome of the match was in favor of La Salle.
“Of course, I will still approach him. I would siyempre tell him about the hand gestures. Baka ma-misinterpret, magdulot pa ng ibang kaguluhan,” he said, obviously referring to Racela’s constant waving of both hands while coaching the Tamaraws on the sidelines.
Capistrano also said he is very much satisfied after hearing the side of Racela on the incident following a Spin.ph interview and story on the matter.
“In your report, he answered that he was surprised that he had no intention or anything … I take his word for it. He clarified it already, nasagot na nya `yung questions … I think that’s the end of it,” he said.
“I had no intention of provoking anything. In your report, he said he is from La Salle, and he never wanted any animosity or bad blood. He is a fellow La Sallian, so walang problema 'yun,” added Capistrano, a president of an international shipping company.
“I don’t want to create a scene. Wala akong ibang motibo. Ang tagal ko na rito. Kaya nga after the game na ko nagtanong. Imagine if I asked him at the height of the game.
“Ayaw kasi natin na mamis-interpret ang lahat. Tulad nung nilapitan ko siya. Akala ng marami nag-aaway na kami,” he said before breaking into laughter. “This is going to be an intense game. Ayaw natin ng gulo.”
Capistrano said he is ready to face any investigation being planned by UAAP commissioner Andy Jao, who is now in the process of getting statements from game officials and players who witnessed the incident.
“Yes, I am. It’s his (Jao) call. But you know, I don’t think this is necessary. There was nothing there. No untoward incidents. There were no bad words said. We don’t even know why people got between us,” he said.
“I really didn’t think that this is going to be a very big thing. Siguro hindi rin ako kilala ni Nash, kaya he thought I was charging at him. Pero hindi yun ang pakay ko,” he said.
Listen to podcast of interview with Capistrano here: