It was just like the old times Wednesday evening as some of the remnants of the B-Meg Llamados squad that conquered the PBA Commissioner’s Cup back in 2012 were all in the venue where they shared that glorious moment.
It became possible when team manager Alvin Patrimonio, assistant coach Johnny Abarrientos, PJ Simon, Mark Barroca, Rafi Reavis, and Marc Pingris of Magnolia Hotshots faced Denzel Bowles and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
They last played together in 2016 but Wednesday marked the first time that they saw each other in different camps — it was supposed to happen in 2017 but Bowles got released by TNT KaTropa even before playing a game.
Patrimonio admitted that he felt a tad emotional to see Bowles, whom he had given that iconic hug after the latter sank both his free throws to force overtime and eventually beat Talk N Text Tropang Texters in the Finals’ Game Seven.
“Before the start of the game, dumaan siya sa side namin. May konting emotions kasi nakaka-miss din yung samahan,” said the franchise lifer moments after the match wherein the Hotshots bowed narrowly, 82-86.
“Siyempre nandoon pa rin ang relationship namin with him and the memories. Pero iba na yung situation ngayon. Nandoon yung respect at ‘di mawawala yun, pero ‘pag kalaban, you have to level up,” Patrimonio added.
Pingris, on the other hand, admitted that seeing Bowles in a different uniform made him feel a bit awkward.
“Hindi kami sanay,” he said. “[Pero] Ang importante dyan yung samahan. Kahit nasa ibang team na sila, nandoon pa rin yung samahan namin … Naappreciate namin lahat ng import namin.
“Nandoon talaga yung family kami.”
It was definitely unfortunate that Bowles wasn’t able to go up against his old pals, as a knee injury has ruled him out of the mid-season joust, cutting short his return. Patrimonio expressed regret with what happened to the 30-year-old.
“Yung nangyari sa kanya, syempre nalulungkot din kami,” said one of the league’s all-time greats.
But for 15-year league veteran Pingris — who regrets not being able to greet Bowles personally — he believes that he and Bowles will still be able to meet some time soon, especially within the four sides hardwood, of course.
“Gusto kong mag-hi sa kanya. Wala pa kaming pagkakataon na magkita … Pero sana. Malay mo magkita ulit kami.”