MANILA, Philippines – A contrite Malcolm White said he repeatedly tried to apologize for hitting Rain or Shine guard Chris Tiu in the fourth quarter of their game on Sunday, even as the GlobalPort reinforcement also lashed out Raymond Almazan's "dirty play" in the final minute of the contest.
Rain or Shine hacked out a 96-90 triumph on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum, improving to 5-1 in the PBA Commissioner's Cup. However, most of the attention was on the several near-skirmishes that happened in the contest, particularly in the fourth quarter.
White was a central figure in many of the scuffles, particularly at the 6:50 mark of the fourth quarter when he whipped his forearm into Tiu's face as he positioned himself for a rebound.
Tiu dropped to the court upon contact. The guard later said he "lost consciousness" for about two seconds and compared White's hit to a punch from Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.
"Oh man, I didn't do that purposely," White said after the game, where he scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds. "You know, I was just trying to… it was just the motion of my arm."
"I was just boxing out, and somebody was there," he explained. "I guess he was right there by my arm. I didn't even know I did it, until (Chris Tiu) came back, and I'd seen the blood."
White said he tried to apologize and tell Tiu that the hit was inadvertent. However, the Elasto Painters were clearly in no mood to hear his explanation.
"I told him sorry when I saw the blood. I said, 'Hey man, sorry I didn't mean to do it. I didn't know you was upon the basket.' I didn't even feel when I did it, when I hit him," said the import.
Instead of accepting his apologies, however, Rain or Shine "put a player in and hit out on me," as White saw it.
White was referring to Almazan, who was called for a flagrant foul on the GlobalPort import with some 40 seconds left to play in the game. The lanky Rain or Shine forward drove his shoulder into White's face. To make matters worse, Almazan walked away with a finger to his nose, as if to taunt White further.
"I guess the team, they took it some type of way and like I said, they sent Raymond in, I jumped for the ball and he took his shoulder, busted my lip and hit me up in my chin. That was dirty, that was, that was dirty. I'm not a dirty player, I'm just a physical player, that's it," said White.
White was also called for a technical foul with 3:20 left when he entered the court during another scuffle between the two squads. Rain or Shine's Maverick Ahanmisi and GlobalPort's Kelly Nabong were also ejected in the aftermath.
White and Almazan figured in another confrontation after the game, when they met each other in the hallway of the Big Dome. Fortunately, the situation did not escalate as they exchanged only words.
"That was a dirty play, what he did at the end of the game, that was dirty. I can see if I purposely did it on purpose but I didn't purposely do it you know. I was trying to apologize to him. They took it another way," White stressed.
The import insists he holds no hard feelings for Almazan and the rest of the Elasto Painters, but issued a warning shot.
"If they want to take it that way, then hey, we'll see them again in the playoffs hopefully," said White.
Almazan, for his part, made it clear that he was only trying to protect his teammates after seeing Tiu bloodied and Ahanmisi ejected.
"Part of the game 'yun," said Almazan. "Siyempre, 'di naman namin pababayaan 'yung teammate namin na ganunin niya lang. At saka respetuhin naman niya ang liga natin."
As for his "baho" taunt?
"Wala, pang-inis na lang sa kanya 'yun, kasi patalo na sila," said Almazan. "Nasa kanya na 'yun."
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