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Dondon Hontiveros does not call it a day, signs with Alab

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Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Dondon Hontiveros does not call it a day, signs with Alab ABL Alab Pilipinas Basketball News  Dondon Hontiveros 2017-18 ABL Season

During the ASEAN Basketball League presser on Tuesday morning at Shangri-la at the Fort, Dondon Hontiveros, 40, was seen sporting an Alab Pilipinas shirt.

Rumors swirled months ago that Hontiveros, one of the greatest shooters in modern-day Philippine basketball, would join the said club team after the Alaska Aces’ exit in the 2017 Governor’s Cup. Moreover, the Cebuano made hints that he is not ready to call it a day during Alaska’s final outing of the season last September 20.

“In fact yung last game ko sa Alaska, naisip ko na yung ABL,” bared Hontiveros, “Sinabi ko na sa agent ko na ‘Boss Danny [Espiritu], baka naman pwede niyo kausapin sina Charlie [Dy] and or sina Jimmy [Alapag].

“Then a few days after, nakausap ko sina Charlie, sina Jimmy. They told me na mag-start na pala yung ABL on November… I’m excited.”

The regional league’s way of play is totally different from the PBA, as it features a home-and-away format. But that is nothing new for Hontiveros, as he had already went through the same style during his MBA days with Cebu Gems.

“If maalala niyo 20 or 19 years ago, I started with a home-and-away format also with the MBA,” shared the 1998 MBA All-Star MVP.

“And I’ll have a chance to do it again in a bigger region, so I’m excited.”

The 13-time PBA All-Star is fully aware that he will not get major minutes anymore with Alab. But what he promises to do, despite being a newbie to the ABL, is bring and impart professionalism to the whole team.

“I’ll do my part — I’ll be guiding the young guys,” assured Hontiveros, who averaged 3.3 points on 29.5 shooting from downtown in just 11.6 minutes of action in his final year in the PBA, “Of course magiging rookie din ako kasi it’s a different set of tawagan, ganon, but how you handle practices, how to be a professional, I’ll show it to them.

“And of course kung ano maitulong ko sa court. Jimmy knows what I can do.”

And speaking of Alapag, who is in his head coaching debut, the 19-year veteran already sees one of the best floor generals of all time doing an excellent job manning the sidelines for Alab, last season’s fourth-placers.

“I’ve known Jimmy for a long time. Kahit kalaban kami, nakikita ko yung leadership niya. I’m not surprised na andito siya ngayon,” said Hontiveros of his former Gilas Pilipinas teammate. “And how he handles practice, how he communicates with the guys, I think he’ll be a very good coach.

“I really believe he’ll be a good coach. Playing for him kahit ako yung mas matanda, it looks awkward.”

Seeing Hontiveros play in a new league will surely be peculiar, and it will require some time before everyone gets used to it. Asked if he will ever see action back in the Filipino pro league, Hontiveros did not give out anything certain.

“Well ‘di ko masasabi kasi I’m already 40,” said the two-time PBA champion, “And I understand that basketball is a young man’s game. I’m just fortunate to be playing at this age. So ‘di ko talaga masasabi.

“As far as I’m concerned, ito lang talaga yung gusto kong gawin.”

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