Michael Juico had an excellent shot at winning the Chooks-to-Go MPBL Invitational Most Valuable Player award.
The 6-foot guard out of San Fernando, Pampanga normed 19.0 points, 3.8 assists, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.0 steals during the perfect group stage run of Basilan-Jumbo Plastic Medical Depot.
However, the votes did not fall his way as Nueva Ecija’s Michael Mabulac was adjudged with the top plum.
And Juico used it as an added motivation heading into Basilan’s winner-take-all game against Nueva Ecija last December 23.
“Actually, extra motivation yun. Gusto ko ring makuha yung nakuha niya.”
“Sabi niya, ‘Pare, bigay niya na sa amin.’ Sabi ko, ‘Pare hindi puwede kasi mas kailangan namin ‘to. Mayaman kayo.'”
For 44 minutes, Juico poured his heart out, tallying 15 points. But still, the game was knotted at 80-all with 1.9 seconds remaining.
Off a timeout, Juico was the designated inbounder in the high-pressure moment. However, he missed the play that would have resulted in a Jaymar Gimpayan alley-oop.
But there’s always a plan B.
“Although hindi binigay yung MVP, kukunin ko na lang yung championship sa kanya [Mabulac]. Yun yung main goal namin, hindi naman yung individual awards. Pumunta kami rito para manalo sa team.”
Now that he is a champion, Juico is looking for a back-to-back come the next MPBL season. But for now, he only has one thing on his mind.
“Makikita niyo ko namimili sa SM Pampanga.”