Arwind Santos of San Miguel collides with former teammate Kelly Nabong of NorthPort during their game Tuesday night. (PBA Images)

SMART CLARK GIGA CITY–Arwind Santos was quick to downplay his heated confrontation with former teammate Kelly Nabong. 

Santos and Nabong, who figured in a controversy last year, almost went at each other after engaging in two physical plays in the waning minutes of San Miguel’s 120-99 rout of NorthPort on Tuesday night at the AUF Arena. 

With 4:29 left in the fourth quarter and the Beermen leading 112-89, Santos went for an isolation play against Nabong and drove to the basket, only to receive a hard foul from the latter while in mid-air. 

Santos managed to avoid a bad fall and quickly confronted Nabong, who had a wound on his cheek after getting hit by Santos’ elbow. Fortunately, cooler heads were quick to separate the two. 

Nabong, who actually had a good game with a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds, was assessed with a flagrant foul penalty one.  

Prior to that, Santos made almost the same play and got fouled by Nabong. 

“Ewan ko kung anong nangyari. Kinalimutan ko na ‘yun. Ang importante nanalo kami,” said the 39-year-old Santos, who finished with a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds.

“Ganun talaga. Isipin na lang natin na nabigla lang,” added the former MVP. 

It seemed that the two veteran forwards have not yet settled their differences that resulted in a fight at a practice that involved San Miguel import Dez Wells last November 17, 2019. 

After the brawl that spoiled San Miguel’s grand slam ambitions, Nabong was traded to NorthPort for Russel Escoto while Ronald Tubid, who was also involved in the incident, was left unsigned. 

San Miguel coach Leo Austria also dismissed the incident. 

“Alam naman natin ang mga players, pagdating sa court lahat ‘yan palaban,” said Austria, whose team remained in the running for a twice-to-beat bonus in the quarterfinals. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (