Chris Latata said that Juan Gomez de Liaño’ tripping on his right foot during the Chooks-to-Go 3×3 President’s Cup at the Inspire Sports Academy “bubble” in Calamba, Laguna on Wednesday was purely accidental.
With 5:15 left in the Nueva Ecija – Bacolod game in Leg 1, Gomez de Liaño’s right foot landed on Latata’s right foot after he went for a drive.
Gomez de Liaño injured his right foot in the process and was unable to finish the game. The injury also ruled him out of Leg 2 of the country’s first-ever 3×3 professional league.
It was a tough blow for the Rice Vanguards who are dependent on the 6-foot-1 Gomez de Liaño’s prowess.
The 6-foot-5 Latata stressed that he did not intend to hurt Gomez de Liaño, who was his teammate with the Marinerong Pilipino in the PBA D-League.
“Hindi ko intensyon na saktan ‘yung kalaban. Hindi ko intensyon na manggulang. Nag-sorry talaga ako sa kanya (I have no intention to hurt my rival. I have no intention to be shrewd. I told him I was really sorry),” Latata said in a meeting with Gomez de Liaño, presided by league commissioner Eric Altamirano and technical head Hector Villanueva on Thursday.
Gomez de Liaño accepted Latata’s apology.
“I know Chris. He’s a nice guy. We were teammates in the D-League. I just want to understand why he needed to box-out when the play has already ended,” said Gomez de Liaño.
Altamirano, however, gave Latata a stern final warning.
“Naiintindihan kong wala kang intention. Ang na-violate mo siguro is ‘yung landing spot ni Juan (I understand you have no intention of hurting him and maybe you just violated Juan’s landing spot),” Altamirano told Latata.
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