Antonio Hester set aside brotherhood when Magnolia took on Terrafirma in a crucial PBA Governors’ Cup encounter Saturday night.
The 32-year-old faced his ex-team for the first time since joining the Hotshots as the replacement for Erik McCree early in the conference, but no such thing as a happy reunion took place upon setting foot on the hardwood.
“This is a business, man,” said the Miami native, who had his first gig in Asia’s pioneering pro league through the Dyip in last season’s edition of the conference. “When we step into those four lines, I don’t know you.
“You don’t have this jersey on, I don’t know you. You don’t have a Magnolia jersey on, you’re not my brother. Just for the time being. After the game, yea. But during the game, it’s all about us,” he added.
Hester did make it a tough night for his former ball club, and the same goes with the latter as they played physical defense against the hulking big.
The 11-year veteran was not surprised by any of that, though, recalling how rough their practices were during his time with the franchise.
“When I was with Terrafirma, it was like that in practice sometimes. We go at it in practice, you know, tryna push each other around,” said Hester, who had 8.3 points, 12.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.6 steals with Terrafirma.
But he’d get the last laugh against the Dyip. The Hotshots came back from as much as 15 down and won in overtime, 121-115, to keep their Top Four chances very much alive while kicking their foes out of contention.
Hester himself was a catalyst of the furious rally as he finished with 40 points on 15-of-21 shooting from the field alongside 17 rebounds.
“Taking it one possession at a time, like we always talked about,” he said of the victory at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
“Just weathering the storm, stand together, you know, making sure that we got each other’s back the whole time. That’s pretty much it. Just us being together,” added the former ABL import, who scored 15 in the fourth quarter.
But as the smoke cleared, it was all love between Hester and Terrafirma.
“It’s fun, though,” he said.
“I enjoyed it.”