Philippine basketball is just a small world.
Former rivals can turn into teammates in just an instant and vice versa.
This goes for Pamboy Raymundo and Marvin Hayes.
For years in the NCAA, the two figured in numerous battles with Raymundo being part of San Sebastian and Hayes playing for Jose Rizal University.
In the PBA, 5-foot-10 Raymundo would play for TNT, Air21, and NLEX before moving to Alab in the ABL and, later on, Bataan and GenSan in the MPBL.
On the other hand, Hayes had stints with Alaska, GlobalPort, Phoenix, and Manila.
After nine years, the two found their journeys intertwined as they were tapped by Sarangani in Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3.
“First time ito. Nagulat nga ako sabi ni Coach John Kallos yung addition natin si Marvin Hayes, sabi ko, ‘Uy! Wow! Bagay sa 3×3 yun may tagakuha ako ng rebound, may banger ako, may fighter’,” gushed Raymundo during an episode of Chooks-to-Go Crossover.
“Shooter na din! Pag tumitira nga si Marvin nung una tumatakbo ako sa rebound pero shumushoot eh. Sabi ko depensa na lang ako, matic na yun.”
“Sa akin lang kasi no choice kung hindi maglaro sa labas. Kasi kung lagi akong maglalaro sa loob, banggaan sobrang nakakapagod eh, nakakaubos ng lakas eh so yun kinausap ko si Coach Cris [Bautista] na kailangan ko ng extra shooting baka sakaling makatulong,” said Hayes about his surprising stroke from distance.
Improvement in every leg can be seen from Raymundo, Hayes, and the rest of the Marlins.
In the first three legs of the President’s Cup powered by TM, Sarangani finished in ninth, seventh, and then fifth.
Then in the fourth leg, the Marlins figured in the Group of Death, being pooled with Bacolod-Master Sardines and Uling Roasters-Butuan City.
“Parang unang kita ko sabi ko parang mananalo ba kami dito? Pero sabi nga ni Pamboy step by step lang, naisip ko rin na chance namin makabwi ito kasi yung mga unang leg, pangalawang leg, talo kami lagi diyan sa Butuan saka sa Bacolod,” said Hayes as they swept their pool with a 21-13 (7:18) win over Bacolod and a 21-19 (8:23) squeaker against Butuan.
Sarangani then domilished Pasig-Sta. Lucia 21-15 (6:40) in the quarters but bowed to the mighty Family’s Brand Sardines-Zamboanga City Chooks in the semis, 13-21 (8:25).
From ninth to seventh to fifth to third, there’s only one place to go for Sarangani come the Grand Finals on Friday — first place.
And that’s what they are gunning for as the P1,000,000 grand prize is life-changing money.
“Alam na namin yung mga weakness namin saka siguro bago magstart yun, maguusap usap kami kung ano yung dapat naming gawin saka yung mga hindi dapat gawin para umabot kami hanggang sa dulo, nawa ibless kami ni Lord na umabot doon. Tignan natin kung anong kaya,” shared Raymundo.
“Kumbaga kung final leg, kumbaga isa’t isa na ito eh, kung mabigyan kami ng chance na makapasok ulit, pagtratrabahuhan talaga namin,” said Hayes.
“Sana at the end of the day manalo kami kasi sayang din yung cash prize na mapapanalunan.”