As Alex Cabagnot made his way inside the fabled Meralco Gym, he could not help but savor that moment. Finally, after years of clamor, the 13-year veteran will have a shot of representing his country.
For years, many have questioned why the 6-foot gunslinger has never been invited to even just be part of Gilas Pilipinas’ pool. His credentials alone speaks volumes as he is a seven-time PBA champion, a Finals Most Valuable Player, and a six-time All-Star.
And Gilas Pilipinas head coach Yeng Guiao finally gave him a crack at a stint with the National Team as the 35-year-old was named to the pool for the first window of the second round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
“It’s good to be out here and relearning coach Yeng’s system.
“Just to be part of this and try to help as much as possible is a blessing in itself,” expressed Cabagnot.
When practice began, Cabagnot had an easy time integrating himself to Guiao’s system as he already played under the decorated tactician back in 2009 with the defunct-franchise Burger King Whoppers. He only played for six games with Burger King before being shipped to the San Miguel Beermen.
Even if learning the system was a breeze for him, what he is trying to learn now is the tendencies of his teammates.
“It’s easy to pick up naman. The Xs and Os are quite simple pero yung jelling with the guys and chemistry and synergy, it’s the difficult part,” he disclosed.
Making it easy for Cabagnot is the presence of his San Miguel teammates Marcio Lassiter and Christian Standhardinger. In addition, he has already played with some of the his teammates all throughout his stellar career.
“Kasama ko si Christian, we see each other in the morning and I’ve known Marcio for a while now. I’ve known some of these guys in the PBA for such a long time as well. I’ve been with Asi [Taulava] in Coke, I’ve played in numerous All-Star games with Paul [Lee],” he shared.
“The guy I haven’t played with is Scottie [Thompson]. You know naman Scottie is a team player. I think we’ll work well. I have no problem working with Scottie and im sure he’s gonna help me as much as anyone.”