KUALA LUMPUR - Carl Bryan Cruz and Baser Amer were left befuddled on why they were ejected from Gilas Pilipinas' match against Malaysia on Wednesday night in the 29th Southeast Asian Games.
Cruz and Amer were sent off following a scuffle between Kevin Ferrer and Kuek Tian Yuan with 5:31 left in the third quarter of the match that Gilas Pilipinas won easily, 98-66.
Cruz insisted he was only acting as a peacemaker during the commotion.
"Wala akong kinalaman. Malinis konsensya ko," said Cruz with a smile. "Hindi ko nga alam kung ano 'yung tawag. Galing ako sa baba. Nagkakagulo na doon. Nandoon lang ako to pacify the situation.
"Bigla namang out of nowhere, ako 'yung na-thrown out. Unacceptable talaga. Kala ko, si Kevin ang thrown out," added the former Far Eastern University standout.
Cruz was even more shocked when he saw Amer join him in the dugout.
"Kala ko nga iihi lang. Sabi ko, 'Bakit ka nakaupo?' Sabi niya, 'Na-thrown out ako,'" said Cruz.
Amer shared Cruz's surprise, saying he at the receiving end of an elbow from a Malaysian player at the height of the incident.
"Gusto ko nga mapanood 'yung (replay ng) game mamaya kasi ang intention ko lang, tulungan si Kevin tapos umawat ako, may sumiko sa akin. Hindi ko na maalala ('yung nangyari)," said Amer.
But with the Gilas cadets winning by wide margin, Ferrer can afford to make light of the situation by thanking Cruz for 'taking one' for the team.
"Inipit 'yung braso ko. I'm so glad na dumating 'yung teammates ko lalo na si Carl. Ang bait niyan tapos na-thrown out. I'm so happy," Ferrer said laughing.
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