Reynel Hugnatan was pleasantly surprised upon learning that he is in the running for Most Improved Player honors for the 2020 PBA season.
The Meralco veteran is nominated for the plum along with the Phoenix Super LPG tandem of Justin Chua and Jason Perkins, Ginebra’s sweet-shooting big Prince Caperal; NLEX bruiser Raul Soyud; and Javee Mocon of Rain or Shine.
“Sobra. Kasi hindi ko na iniisip yun eh,” he told 2OT, presented by SMART.
“Ako, kung pwede lang ibigay ko na sa kanila yun eh. Pero siyempre, masaya din na nakadikit ako diyan, so thank you rin ako sa bumoto rin sa akin.”
There is no denying that Hugnatan defied Father Time with how he delivered for Meralco in the 2020 Philippine Cup.
After averaging just 5.6 points in the 2019 edition of the import-less tilt, the 42-year-old upped the ante and posted norms of 11.7 points on 43-percent shooting, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 28 minutes in 16 games.
The 17-year pro was a major reason behind the Bolts’ historic run last season, where they ended the five-year reign of San Miguel in the quarterfinals on their way to their first-ever Philippine Cup semis appearance.
It was indeed a season to remember for Hugnatan and he has a solid case to win the MIP plum last won by Beermen center Mo Tautuaa.
However, winning such an award, if ever, is a mere bonus for the Negrense. For him, all that matters is team achievement, particularly winning a championship with the franchise he’s been playing for since 2011.
“Kung mananalo, I mean, bonus din sa akin yun,” said Hugnatan, a member of the 5,000 points club. “’Yung individual award kasi, hindi ko masyado iniisip. Iniisip ko talaga eh ‘yung manalo, mag-champion. Mga ganoong bagay.
“Kumbaga, kung sino ‘yung deserving sa Most Improved na ito, siguro ‘yun. Kasi alam ko mga kalaban ko malalakas eh, magagaling. Ako talaga, kung sa kanila ibigay, mas maganda.”