Have people witnessed what will eventually go down as Dondon Hontiveros’ Philippine Cup swan song?
The Alaska Aces’ veteran wing man admitted Wednesday night that he had already thought of retiring if the team had won the 2015-16 PBA Philippine Cup title.
“It is very disappointing. I was really thinking if manalo kami (ng championship) I was really thinking of retiring. Pero yun nga, hindi nangyari,” Hontiveros said shortly after San Miguel won the crown with a 96-89 Game 7 victory.
Sadly, that fitting retirement will have to wait, as the 16-year PBA veteran’s side faltered against the history-setting Beermen. Such a setback has given Hontiveros motivation, as he now plans to make the most out of what’s left of his storied PBA career.
“I still have two conferences to work on it. Who knows. I have two conferences and I will give it my best shot.”
Hontiveros landed a spot with the Aces during the 2012-2013 season via a six-player, four-team trade. While he has been with many championship teams in the past, including the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup as the most recent, Hontiveros has not won a Philippine Cup title at all.
The 38-year-old wing man had averaged 6.7 PPG and 1.9 RPG in over 16 minutes of play this conference, his lowest numbers under an Alaska uniform. Hontiveros thanked head coach Alex Compton for the opportunity to contribute to the contenders.
“It’s just him being a leader. Alam niya yung pain namin. In fact the first thing he said was may mga anak kami, may mga responsibilities kami. Yes, it will hurt us for the next days pero mga ama pa rin kami, may mga responsibilities kami sa labas. Malaki tiwala namin kay coach Alex and we really admire his leadership and compassion towards us,” Hontiveros shared.
He added that the future is uncertain as far he is concerned, and also hinted that he might already be passing the torch, saying it would be unfair for the younger guys not to get a share of the spotlight.
“Yung sa amin ni Eric (Menk), I think (there is a) plan pagpahingahin kami and give opportunities to the young guys, sina Marion (Magat), sina Kevin (Racal),” Hontiveros said.
“It would be unfair to the guys (same position) na hindi mabigyan ng opportunity. They are very good players. I have two conferences to make it special. Work hard ulit.”
Hontiveros, though disappointed, remains hopeful. But he knows the task to stay in top shape and compete with the rest of the league is a difficult challenge.
Right now, his main concern is to make the most out of the two conferences that may be his last.
“Who knows kung kaya pa, but (at the same time) unfair din kasi gusto mo maggrow yung (younger) teammates mo eh. Parang sa Gilas, ako, okay lang ako maging part of reserves or practice player but I was given a chance. Maganda rin sana kung nanalo para masaya ang retirement pero right now, ang masasabi ko, I have two conferences to work on it,” he said.
“Emotionally, I am drained. I will make it special, who knows maganda ipakita mo, pero unfair again for the young guys. So, (sila) na bahala.”