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No feud, only heated verbal swap for 2 Bolts

Jimmy Alapag and Kelly Nabong

MANILA, Philippines — The altercation between Meralco assistant coach Jimmy Alapag and team enforcer Kelly Nabong is not about to rub off on the rest of the Bolts as they resume their semis showdown against Star tonight.

“It was in the heat of the moment,” said Meralco player Chris Newsome less than 24 hours after the Bolts came from behind to beat the Hotshots at the start of their best-of-five semis in the PBA Governors Cup.

The victory was marred by the fourth-quarter altercation between Alapag and Nabong on the Meralco bench at the height of the Bolts’ spirited rally.

Witnesses said Nabong, who was just pulled out by head coach Norman Black, fumed at the bench during a break and eventually had a heated exchange of words with Alapag.

Nabong, who went scoreless in just over seven minutes on the floor, ripped his jersey off his chest during the commotion.

Reports said the hard-playing Fil-American stormed out of the court ahead of his teammates after the final buzzer.

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“Everyone was emotional at that time. But in the locker room they talked to each other,” said Newsome yesterday, hoping that all’s well within the team as they seek a commanding 2-0 lead tonight in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Nabong is a fierce competitor and is known to give his all inside the court. A few years back, he got into a fight with San Mig Coffee forward Mark Pingris, and surprised a lot with his MMA moves.

It’s not the first time this conference that a player had an altercation with his own coach.

Last July, GlobalPort star Stanley Pringle had a heated exchange of words with head coach Franz Pumaren during a timeout. But they patched things up before the night was over.

What happened at the Meralco bench the other night, according to Newsome, is nothing new.

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