THEY'VE squared off four times in the UAAP alone and in three more games in the Philippine Collegiate Champions League Finals - banging, grappling, and wrestling each other so many times inside the paint it looked as if they were ready to knock each other's head off on a couple of occasions.
But in the end, they only have respect and admiration for each other.
In one of the most surreal scenes seen in college basketball where sportsmanship has often been lost amid a win-at-all-cost mentality, University of Santo Tomas center Karim Abdul and Ateneo rival Greg Slaughter stood at midcourt at the end of the Tigers' 81-76 Game Three victory and paid respect to each other.
The two towering players shook hands, hugged, exchanged words of encouragement, then did what we normally only see at the end of football ties in Europe and elsewhere - they exchanged jerseys.
"I was the one who first gave my jersey," Abdul told Spin.ph. "I like him as a player because he plays clean and I respect him that's why I want to have his jersey."
Slaughter returned the favor as he handed Abdul his basketball uniform which Abdul immediately wore as he joined in the UST celebrations and the awarding ceremonies where he was honored with a place in the Mythical Team.
The Cameroonian student-player said the gesture was a simple token of remembrance since Slaughter, the 6-foot-11 Ateneo big man, has played his final game for the Blue Eagles in the collegiate ranks.
"Since it's his last year and we won't be playing (against each other) anymore, I gave it to him as remembrance," said Abdul, who is in his sophomore year with the Tigers.
The two giants then exchanged words of encouragement at centercourt for one last time, just as they did during games.
"We said words of encouragement, like it was a good game," said Abdul. "Also on the court during games, we often talk and sometimes we even laugh."