They grappled. They banged bodies. They traded cheap shots. They engaged in trash talks. Blood spilled on the floor.
The PBA Philippine Cup is just starting to heat up.
One even suffered a cut on his forehead after being hit with an elbow.
“Nag-uumpisa pa lang yung laban,” said Arwind Santos after leading San Miguel Beer to a 100-86 win that leveled the best-of-seven title series at 1-all Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-foot-4 Santos suffered a cut on his forehead when Alaska bruiser Calvin Abueva squarely landed an elbow after missing a layup with 6:06 to play in the third quarter.
The versatile San Miguel Beer wingman was forced to head back to the bench as a team personnel tried to stop the bleeding.
Santos returned with a brown bandage on his forehead, his trademark white headband and front jersey stained with blood and quickly delivered a big three-point shot to ignite a 10-2 run that gave the Beermen an 82-72 lead with 9:15 to play.
Santos and the 6-foot-2 Abueva figured in several more tussles, but the one-time Most Valuable Player brushed them aside.
“Part ng laro yan. Parang kailan lang, naalala ko sabi ko sa teammates ko sa Pampanga, di lang ulo ang dumudugo. Paa, ilong, pero tuloy ang laro, normal na yun. Ito yung trabaho namin at ito yung priority namin,” said Santos who finished with 22 points, a big improvement from his 12-point production in Game 1.