If there is one man who truly embodies the word “sacrifice”, it is San Miguel Beermen point guard Alex Cabagnot.
For the last two months, the six-foot point guard has been seen wearing a black, plastic mask — that serves as protective gear for his facial injury — in majority of San Miguel’s outings, from the eliminations to the playoffs.
But it was not just an ordinary injury, though.
Back in January, Cabagnot had been accidentally hit in the face during their elimination round meeting against Meralco. Once the MRI revealed that his nose was fractured, it was expected that he would sit out for an indefinite amount of time, as a broken bone requires treatment under the knife.
However, the six-foot point guard defied the pain and decided to forego surgery, as he did not want to ruin the Beermen’s aspirations of securing an All-Filipino treble.
Two months after sustaining the setback, the sacrifice that the Fil-American guard made has paid off big time.
On Sunday night, the Beermen made history, sealing the 2017 Philippine Cup title to secure a rare three-peat and become only the second team in league history next to TNT to win the much-coveted Perpetual trophy.
And Cabagnot proved to be one of San Miguel’s catalysts in their monumental victory.
All throughout the five-game Finals stretch against the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, Cabagnot posted norms of 16 points, along with a 40.9 percent shooting clip from beyond-the-arc and 4.4 dimes — numbers expected from someone of his caliber.
Cabagnot was truly the image of stability for the Beermen, not only in the Finals, but also during the whole stretch of the conference playoffs. From winning their quarterfinal match against Rain or Shine to helping San Miguel survive a seven-game semifinals thriller to TNT, Cabagnot did all he could to aid his team.
And he did it all the while in pain.
“I just want to thank God for the opportunity and for the blessing that He gave us,” said a grateful Cabagnot moments after San Miguel’s championship celebration in the team’s dugout at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Aside from the sweet three-peat, this particular title series was something personal for the five-time champion, as he was finally able to score a victory over legendary coach Tim Cone, who has tormented him twice in the playoffs.
“I’ve played him twice na and he’s beaten me twice. I’m glad I get to win against him,” thanked the 12-year league veteran.
“Beating coach Tim Cone, a legendary coach like that, it’s a tough feat.”
Now that the conference has wrapped up, with San Miguel closing it on a strong note, the team has a two-week breather before the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup commences. That will be enough time for Cabagnot to treat his broken nose, but it seems that it is the least of his concern — for now.
“I haven’t thought about that yet. I’ll get on that soon,” admitted the 34-year-old.