MANILA, Philippines -- Blackwater's rookie head coach Aris Dimaunahan issued a heartfelt apology to his Rain or Shine counterpart, Caloy Garcia, after inadvertently snubbing the latter's handshake at the end of their PBA Commissioner's Cup game on Sunday.
After Blackwater's 98-92 win over Rain or Shine, Garcia was already at the half-court mark for the customary post-game handshake with the opposing coach. Dimaunahan, however, was still congratulating his own players at the time.
Dimaunahan ended up having to catch up to Garcia near the Rain or Shine dugout.
"I want to apologize also to Coach Caloy for not shaking his hand right away," the Blackwater coach said afterward. "I'm sorry, I just have this thing na after every game, I go to my players before shaking the hand of the opponent."
"Coach Caloy, if I offended you I'm so sorry, wala akong ibang gusto kung 'di i-congratulate ko lang muna ang mga players ko. If I offended you, I'm sorry," he stressed.
Dimaunahan made it clear that he has nothing but respect for Garcia, and meant no insult by "snubbing" the veteran coach. Rather, he simply wanted to first show his appreciation to his players who had registered a bounce-back win after suffering their first loss of the conference.
"Sorry kung sa kanya muna ako dapat pumunta kanina. Basta nothing bad in my intention to do that. Gusto ko lang talaga ma-congratulate ang mga players. Hinabol ko pa siya sa dugout," said Dimaunahan.
Garcia was admittedly shocked at Dimaunahan's actions after the game.
"I think he has to learn that after the game, you have to shake the hands of the opposing head coach. I was approaching him, then he turned his back. So doon ako nagulat, parang bakit naman ganun?" said Garcia.
The Rain or Shine coach said that what Dimaunahan did was "not proper."
"Kasi whether you win or lose, you have to always... for me, you have to always shake the hands of the opposing team," he said.
Garcia was also far from convinced with Dimaunahan's explanation.
"For me, hindi magandang explanation 'yan, kasi pwede mo namang gawin 'yun, panalo ka naman eh. Eh di doon ka magsimula sa dulo. Kamayan mo lahat ng player mo, papunta ka sa coach sa kabila. Hindi 'yung nandiyan ka na, tatalikuran mo tapos pupuntahan mo doon sa dulo tapos... di ba parang it's not a good excuse," he pointed out.
Moreover, he said that Dimaunahan could have congratulated his players inside their dugout.
"This is the PBA," he said. "If I did that to him or did that to any other coach, I think any other coach is gonna react the same way."
For Garcia, what made Dimaunahan's actions all the more disappointing is that they had been friends for a long time.
"Sa akin tapos na 'yun," he said when asked if he accepted the Blackwater coach's apology. "I just feel bad that he had to do it kasi matagal ko naman siyang kaibigan eh. I just feel bad that he had to do it that way."
He offered some advice to Dimaunahan, who was named Blackwater's new head coach in April.
"I know he's been winning," Garcia said. "Sana, he just keeps his foot on the ground."
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