Uling Roasters-Butuan City big man JR Alabanza could only feel regret a day after their heated preseason game against Nueva Ecija in the 2020 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup.
“It’s a highly emotional, highly physical game. It went out of hand talaga. It gets to our heads, ‘yung pisikal,” lamented the 33-year-old, who is the 20th-ranked 3×3 player in the country.
Alabanza was in the middle of the storm between the budding rivals.
It was the 6-foot-5 Alabanza’s body bump on 6-foot-3 Gab Banal that sparked a heated contest, which lasted less than five months.
For his part, Alabanza was on the receiving end of a couple of crashes and burns from Juan Gomez de Liaño and Banal later on.
He would also be slapped with a technical foul later. Making matters worse, the Rice Vanguards jeered him while he walked away.
“We try to control it, ‘yung late part, pero medyo late na so we ended up losing,” he continued, as the highly-touted Butuan squad lost to Nueva Ecija, 10-21.
During the post-game pleasantries, Alabanza snobbed the fist bump attempt of Reyes. And it went viral as well.
“Sobra, sobra, sobra. ‘Yung emotion talaga, it gets in your head. Good thing preseason lang ‘yung game na ‘yun and we can adjust talaga,” he lamented.
The two squads made amends afterward. After all, he and Banal go a very long way.
“Gab and I, we’re good. ‘Yung dad niya was my coach sa D-League. We’re good. Siguro, sa game lang talaga, emotions were high. I don’t know. Ganun talaga siguro,” he said, as the two played in Marinerong Pilipino two years ago.
Good thing all of this happened in a pre-season game, so he can charge this to experience.
“Sobra-sobrang lesson learned. Good thing na nangyari sa preseason para mapag-aralan namin and, hopefully, ‘di namin ma-carry over sa first leg.”
Alabanza will not be in the lineup of Butuan for the first leg.