MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Beer and TNT KaTropa figured in another eventful game on Sunday, when they faced off in Game 4 of the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup finals.
The Beermen already had the victory in hand after taking a 102-96 lead off two free throws by Alex Cabagnot with 16.3 seconds left. TNT called a timeout, and while walking back to their bench, Terrence Jones had to push his way past both Christian Standhardinger and Kelly Nabong.
Both Standhardinger and Nabong have had their share of battles with Jones, and neither one backed down as the TNT import brushed past them. Coach Leo Austria ultimately pulled Nabong away, with San Miguel import Chris McCullough pacifying his teammate.
Nabong later clarified that no words were exchanged between him and Jones, and made it clear that he was not out to start anything with the American player.
"I just think that he knew the game was over and you know, we already called a timeout and I was trying to high-five my players for a good job," said Nabong, who did not play in SMB's 106-101 win in Game 4.
"I guess he didn’t like the fact that they lost this game so he just pushed me. I mean, that’s it. No words spoken. That’s it," he said.
Jones' push did not faze the burly Nabong, who said the gesture was "soft."
"I mean, it's fine. It's fine. That was a little baby push. That was nothing. That's a little softness, a little too much finesse in him," said Nabong.
"That was like a flop push, just like he always does – flops," he added.
The incident among Nabong, Standhardinger and Jones is just the latest in what has been an already physical series. Earlier in the game, Jones figured in a shouting match with San Miguel's Arwind Santos, with both players getting technical fouls.
San Miguel coach Leo Austria acknowledged that emotions are running high, but stressed that both teams must keep their cool as the series progresses.
"Sometimes, it's normal, may kaunting banggaan, alitan. But mabuti na lang, walang violent na nangyayari," he said. "Last game, may nangyari, but that's already a thing of the past, and we have to move on."
"We have to play according to the rules and regulation of the basketball, because we owe it to the fans eh," he added. "They are here to watch quality basketball, and that's what's happening in the series."
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