MANILA, Philippines – Ginebra rookie Kevin Ferrer maintained his innocence following a dust-up with TNT import Glen Rice Jr. in Game 4 of their PBA Governors' Cup semifinals series, which led to the reinforcement's ejection.
With just 1:41 left to play in the opening quarter, and TNT in control, 35-23, Rice shockingly put his hand around Ferrer's neck and threw the Ginebra local to the court. He was immediately called for a flagrant foul, but still managed to throw the ball at Ferrer's prone form before being calmed down by his teammates and coaches.
Officials went on to call a flagrant foul and a technical on Rice, leading to his ejection. Ginebra trailed for most of the game, before coming alive in the fourth period and winning 115-105 to book a return trip to the Governors' Cup Finals.
Ferrer, who had four points and four rebounds in 15 minutes of action, insisted that he did not do anything extraordinary.
"Ginagawa ko lang 'yung ginagawa ko sa kanya ni (Justin) Brownlee," said Ferrer, referring to their own import.
"Wala naman akong ginagawa," he stressed. "Siyempre, deny lang ako."
Ferrer said he was surprised when Rice suddenly choked him, especially since he said he did not do anything that could have incensed the TNT player.
"Tiningnan ko rin coaches nila, inaawat din siya," he said. "Kung may ginawa ako, dapat anuhin ako ng coaches nila. Nagulat talaga ako. Wala akong sinabi. Pisikal lang."
"Tingin ko 'yung larong Pinoy, 'di siya sanay doon," Ferrer theorized.
Rice exited with only two points, but he already had five assists in the first quarter to help TNT build their big lead. The import made a quick exit from the Araneta Coliseum after his ejection, and declined to talk to reporters.
It remains to be seen if Ferrer will be asked to guard Meralco's burly import, Allen Durham, when they meet in the best-of-seven Finals, but he said he is up to the task.
"Team defense 'yan," he said. "A-accept ko 'yung role na ibibigay sa akin. Pero pwede naman – 'yun naman talaga ang trabaho ko dito."
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