Pasig-Sta. Lucia’s Justin Arana and Val City-MJAS Zenith’s Patrick Cabahug played inspired basketball in the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League Invitational.
And it’s because it was their chance to continue building tape as both players either have a standing offer or have interest from B.League teams.
Two Hours Too Late
During the B.League’s signing spree last June to August, Cabahug’s name kept popping as one of the players that were also set to leave the country for Japan.
But it ended up as just rumors as the 6-foot-1 sniper out of Cebu neither confirmed nor denied that there was an offer during that time.
During the MPBL tournament though, Cabahug confirmed that there was an offer sent to him by a B.League Division III team. In fact, he even signed on the dotted line.
However, he encountered a problem.
“Yung deadline lang talaga. Sa Japan kasi strikto talaga. Nung pag-sign ko ng deal, na-late ako ng two hours.”
Still, Cabahug’s agent advised him to keep his hopes up as Japan might open its borders once more in the coming months.
“Baka maybe after nitong tournament na ito makapunta ako dun,” he said.
That is why Cabahug has been playing his heart out in every tournament that he played in.
In the MPBL Invitational, he normed 16.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Permission To Fly
Six-foot-seven big man Arana, on the other hand, has attracted interest from B.League Division II teams, especially with his size and defensive prowess.
However, no offer has been sent to the 22-year-old native of Bicol.
His problem is that his passport had already expired and that he is having a hard time setting up a meeting with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Still, Arana is clinging to this dream, inspired by the journey that led to good friend and former Sta. Lucia teammate Matthew Aquino in signing with Shinshu.
“Oo naman na-iinspire ako dun. Pero kailangan ko muna mag-perform dito. If ever, may opportunity, ready ako,” he said.
Arana was spectacular in the MPBL, averaging 9.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks — finishing as runner-up to the Defensive Player of the Tournament race.
If ever he does not get an offer from Japan, Arana vows that he will bring everything he has learned in the MPBL in leading Arellano in the NCAA.
“Sobrang laking advantage nito pagbalik ako sa college kasi more physical dito. Mas nag-mature ako sa laro dito.”