CALAMBA, LAGUNA — Butuan City-Uling Roasters won Leg 3 of the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 President’s Cup powered by TM. And Chico Lanete had played the game of his life — in his new sport, at least.
And yet, the 41-year-old was in no mood to celebrate.
While teammates Franky Johnson, Chris De Chavez, JR Alabanza, and Karl Dehesa were up and at ’em in the middle of the INSPIRE Sports Academy court last Sunday night, Lanete was sitting down while holding a bag of ice over his head.
That leg, that Finals against the determined Pasig-Sta. Lucia Realtors, took everything from the 12-year 5-on-5 pro and 3×3 late-bloomer.
“Wala na akong lakas nun. Totoo,” remarked Lanete after scoring eight points to help Butuan City become only the second squad to win a leg in the Philippines’ pioneering 3×3 league. “After ng game, inisip ko lang na sana, may makita akong ice, may makita akong upuan.
“Binigay ko lahat kasi may goal kami.”
It wasn’t just the championship round where Butuan City’s playing coach gave it his all. Throughout the third leg, he was turning back time.
“Pinapakita ko rin na kaya ko pa. I’m sure, marami diyan, nagsasabi, ‘Uy, matanda na ‘yan! Kaya natin ‘yan,’” Lanete shared.
“Pero pinu-prove ko sa kanila na parang, ‘Uy! Hindi pa! Teka lang, nandito pa ako.'”
While foes and fans may have doubts that the Lyceum legend can still keep up, his Uling Roasters teammates have never lost faith.
In fact, Franky Johnson already felt the championship was coming to them all because of Lanete. As he put it, “I seen it in kuya Chico’s eyes. I can tell he wasn’t losing. He wanted it more today. It was his day today.”
It was no surprise that Johnson (26 years old), De Chavez (31), Alabanza (33), and Dehesa (33) followed their veteran’s lead in their triumphant Leg 3.
That’s because on and off the court, Lanete has been, as expected, Butuan City’s leader.
“Sinasabi ko lagi sa kanilang bigyan natin ng time ang extra work out. Ako kasi, nakikita nila na nagwo-work out talaga ako, inaalagaan ko talaga katawan ko,” he said.
“Sabi ko sa kanila, kung kaya ko, kaya rin nila. Pinapaalala ko lagi na keep working hard lang dahil alam kong may papatunayan pa sila.”
Clearly, there are a lot of miles on Chico Lanete, but as the Chooks 3×3 Leg 3 proved, he is far from out of gas.