On Thursday, Rain or Shine defeated Talk ‘N Text, 100-96, in a practice game Thursday at the Northeast Greenhills Association gym.
In the tuneup, former SMART-Gilas Pilipinas big man Japeth Aguilar put up a preview of what he can do for the Tropang Texters in the coming 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup wars. which begin this Sunday. Rookie Paul Lee, meanwhile, continued to amaze Elasto Painters fans and their coaching staff.
But people who attended the game weren’t talking about Aguilar or Lee after the match. Instead, everyone was abuzz about the near-fight that happened between Talk ‘N Text’s Chot Reyes and Rain or Shine’s Yeng Guiao.
The incident happened in the second period when, according to Guiao, Talk ‘N Text rookie Pamboy Raymundo punched Rain or Shine’s Jonathan Uyloan, an act which referees failed to see.
“Maayos naman laro bago yon… eh hindi nakita ng referee so kinonfront ko si Raymundo. Sinabihan ko, ‘Rookie ka pa lang naninira ka na,’” said Guiao.
Reyes, for his part, came to his player’s aid.
“Noong una sinusubukan niyang kinakausap at dini-distract si Pamboy, pinapabayaan ko lang,” said the Tropang Texters’ coach. “Pero nung di na tumigil at umabot na sa pinagmumura na niya si Pamboy, eh hindi na puwede yun.”
“Sinigawan ko na din siya. Siyempre, I had to protect my player already.”
Guiao narrated how things escalated quickly.
“Biglang siyang tumayo at sinigawan ako, sabi niya, bayaan ko daw sila magsuntukan. O kung gusto ko daw pasuntok ko din yung Raymundo. Kaya sinabihan ko siya, kami na lang magsuntukan,” said Guiao.
Both coaches then began to angrily approach each other for a physical confrontation but were prevented from doing so by cooler heads led by referee Art Herrera and both teams’ officials.
Reyes added: “Tinanong ko actually mga players niya kung kahit minsan ba namura ko sila, wala naman makasagot.”
But Guiao, the Pampanga vice-governor, just tried to brush the incident off.
“Nagka-asaran lang, it was nothing serious,” he said.
It was the second time in two months that Reyes figured in an altercation with another head coach — curiously, against another Kapampangan — during a game.
In game 3 of the 2011 Governors Cup best-of-seven finals series between the Tropang Texters and Petron Blaze last August 12, Reyes was also challenged to a fistfight after the game by Boosters head coach Ato Agustin, who is a city councilor in his native San Fernando, Pampanga.
But Reyes said he has nothing against Kapampangan coaches, and that his conflict with both Guiao and Agustin was just mere coincidence.
“Lahat na naman nahamon o nakaaway na ni Yeng — referees, even [PBA Media Bureau chief] Willie Marcial, PBA commissioners, players, other coaches. It’s nothing new with him. And it was bound to happen to me as well,” Reyes said.
“Lahat naman pwede ko patulan pero hindi maganda tingnan, at ano mapapala ko? Ang tatanda na namin para makipag-away. Its not worth it. Eh sila, elected officials pa naman.”
When reminded of Reyes’ previous incident with Agustin, Guiao said: “Kaya nga sabi ko sa kanya kanina, ‘Gago ka pala eh, tinatanggap mo bakla ka.’ Ang tingin ko ang gusto lang niya sa nangyari kanina, yung makabawi sa nangyari sa kanila ni Ato kaya nagpapakamacho siya. Tapos ako ginagamit niyang sangakalan.”
Mark the date then, folks: October 14, 2011, a Friday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum. That’s when Talk ‘N Text and Rain or Shine - and Reyes and Guiao — will be meeting for the first time in the 37th season of the PBA.
The teams and their head coaches are actually squaring off twice in the eliminations, with the rematch scheduled on November 19 with Lucena City in Quezon province as a tentative venue.
When asked if both coaches have been summoned by PBA commissioner Chito Salud regarding the incident, league operations chief and technical director Rickie Santos said that his group will review the tape of the practice game on Friday before making a recommendation to the commissioner.
You think more fireworks between Reyes and Guiao are in the offing? Your guess is as good as mine.