There really is no denying how influential Mark Caguioa is, especially to the younger generation of PBA players.
And that even includes a couple of members of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel’s bitter rivals: the Meralco Bolts.
“Isa siya sa mga pinaka-madalas mag-advice sa’kin,” recalled Nico Salva in 2OT, presented by SMART and supported by Team Phenom Sportswear.
The seven-year pro out of Ateneo had the opportunity to play alongside the 2012 league MVP during his time in the Barangay from 2015-16.
Salva only saw limited playing time as a GIn King but Caguioa, he said, was always there reminding him to just give it his best whenever he checks in.
“Limited minutes lang din ako sa Ginebra so sinasabi niya sa’kin, ‘Pagpasok mo sa court, ‘wag ka nang maging masyadong conscious. Just do your best and then gawin mo kung ano yung pinapractice mo’,” he said.
And aside from the reminders and the lessons, it was the memories he shared with the Ginebra hero which Salva holds dearly in his heart.
“Madalas kami niyan mag-one-on-one sa Ginebra dati,” remembered Salva, a part of the Ginebra team that won the 2016 Governors’ Cup title.
“Sinasabi niya, yung mga ginagawa mo rito sa one-on-one, kayang-kaya mo gawin yan diyan sa court. So, that gave me a lot of confidence, na marinig something like that from a legend like him.”
Bong Quinto, meanwhile, has never had the chance to work with Caguioa. But the incoming sophomore, like Salva, has received advice from the all-time great.
The Letran product admitted that he himself was a Talk ‘N Text fan growing up but he couldn’t help but be impressed with Caguioa’s play.
“Nung bata kasi ako lagi sila kalaban ng TNT, fan talaga ako ng TNT. ‘Pag kalaban sila, siya yung umiiskor nun, sila ni Kuya Jayjay [Helterbrand].”
Well, of all the eight championships the guard nicknamed “The Spark” has, one of them came at the expense of the flagship MVP Group franchise.
That was when the Gin Kings defeated the Jimmy Alapag and Willie Miller-led Phone Pals for the 2005 Philippine Cup crown in six games.
So Quinto had the chance to speak of his admiration towards Caguioa when they met in Game Two of last season’s Governors’ Cup Finals in Lucena.
“During Game Two nung out-of-town, sinabi ko sa kanya na bata pa lang pinapanood na kita,” he said.
“Sabi ko, masaya ako na nakalaro ko siya.”
Quinto bared that he even asked for Caguioa’s jersey after the game, although he would get it three games later, after Ginebra defeated Meralco in Game Five to cop its third Governors’ Cup title in four years.
But more than the prized jersey, he also got to hear valuable reminders from the 40-year-old, which definitely has stuck with him since.
“After nung Game Five, ‘di ko na siya niremind (jersey) or what kasi siyempre celebration na nila eh. Pero parang nagaadvice siya. Ang dami niyang sinabi sa’kin,” shared the 25-year-old.
“Parang next conference, gusto ko maging ganito ka, ganyan kasi nakikita naman daw niya sakin na pinipigilan ko lang daw yung sarili ko. Kumbaga kasi sa PBA organized talaga [ang laro] eh, ‘di ba,” furthered the 14th overall pick of the 2018 Rookie Draft.
“So parang sinasabi niya sa’kin na marami ka pang pwedeng gawin na hindi ko ginagawa. So, offseason magtraining ka, magpakundisyon ka, gawin mo yung ganito ganyan para pagdating ng season, aasahan kita, makikita ko na aggressive ka pagdating sa offense mo.”
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