Tim Cone gets ‘a bit scared’By Beth Celis
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SAN MIG Coffee head coach Tim Cone admitted he got “a bit scared” when he got caught in the middle of a recent fight between his cager Marc Pingris and Globalport’s Kelly Nabong, whose leg he had grabbed and locked in his arms during the fray.
“I know a coach is supposed to go in there and break it up. I had to do it on the biggest guy on the court. I kept saying, ‘settle down Kelly’ while praying he wouldn’t punch me. He kept shouting, ‘get off me!’ Luckily he lost his balance and stumbled over me,” related Cone, who also ended up sprawled on the floor.
Cone had good reason to be “a bit scared.” Kelly Berry Nabong, a Fil-American born in California is described in his pre-draft portfolio as 6-6, 237 lb, a legitimate center, huge and most of all, tough. He has been compared to Calvin “The Beast” Abueva, whom he had tangled with in the PBA’s Developmental League, just before he moved over to the pros in 2012.
Abueva, then of NLEX, was one of the key players who had thwarted Nabong’s team Blackwater in its bid for a finals slot in the D-League last year. Blackwater won the championship this year with Abueva and Nabong now playing in the PBA.
* * *
After the scuffle last Wednesday, some groups were heard talking about Nabong’s unusual moves and skill in fighting.
“After this became evident, we noticed that even Pingris had hesitated to continue the fight. We later found out that Nabong trained in mixed martial arts, a classmate of fellow-cager Dondan Salvador,” a scribe covering the PBA beat revealed.
Globalport owner Mikee Romero confirmed that Nabong is into MMA.
“After that incident last Wednesday, he immediately approached and hugged me, apologizing for how he had acted. ‘Sorry boss, he said,’” related Mikee who made no mention of his reaction when the sanctions on the free-for-all participants were announced Friday.
Nabong was suspended for two games by PBA commissioner Chito Salud and fined P60,000 for attacking San Mig import Marqus Blakely and exchanging blows with Pingris, who was slapped the same penalty.
* * *
HOOPVINE: Speaking of MMA, undefeated Fil-American boxer Mark “Mugen” Streigl will face South Korea’s Kim Jang-yong next Saturday, Sept. 14, in PXC 39 at Ynares Sports Arena in Kapitolyo, Pasig. This is one fight you shouldn’t miss… PBA habitués said the Cone-Nabong scenario reminded them of a very similar situation in the NBA during a game between the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks where a free-for-all erupted and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy had to grab and cling to one leg of Miami’s Alonzo Mourning, in an attempt to control his rage. But Mourning was just too strong and Van Gundy had no choice but to let go of the leg… Ateneo Blue Eagles coach Bo Perasol had to see his doctor after their game against the La Salle Green Archers last Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum. When he got home after the heartbreaking loss and that stressful incident with a Green Archers fan, he found out that the wound from his gall bladder operation, which was just starting to heal, had opened. He said he felt a tearing sensation when he tried to climb the steel railing at the Araneta dugout (to confront the La Salle fan). He thought it was his pants that had been ripped.
More from this Column:
- NLEX a PBA hopeful?
- Blackwater Sports set to join PBA, says Sy
- Fox widens PBA audience
- Measuring ‘Azukal’
- Best Player of the Conference not from 2 finalists