Anton Asistio feels honored to have had Jai Reyes as a teammate in Bataan during the early goings of the 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) Lakan Cup.
The 5-foot-10 guard said that it was a “very fun experience” to have played with the veteran floor general, since they were able to share stories with one another — including some about their time in Ateneo.
Asistio and Reyes played in two different eras of Blue Eagles, though they share the same thing: both players capped off their respective collegiate careers as back-to-back UAAP gold medalists.
Reyes won his in 2008 and 2009 — incidentally the first two titles of the historic five-title streak. Meanwhile, Asistio got his own in 2017 and 2018 in another Ateneo dynasty that has extended to three seasons.
“It’s crazy na naging teammate ko rin si Jai… It was a very fun experience just learning from him and exchanging stories — you know, ‘yung difference nung time na ‘yun, and nung time namin,” Asistio told the CPT Crossover Podcast.
The two champion teams differ from each other, although comparisons are inevitable. Still, it would be interesting, to say the least, to see which team would come out victorious in a fantasy match-up.
Well, Reyes’ Blue Eagles squad that paved the way for the five-peat featured heady playmaker Chris Tiu, as well as Noy Baclao, Ryan Buenafe, and Nico Salva, and UAAP Most Valuable Player Rabeh Al-Hussaini.
On the other hand, Asistio’s crew — which began what’s expected to be another long dominion — has the Japan-bound Thirdy Ravena, Isaac Go, Nieto twins Matt and Mike, and Ivorian student-athlete Ange Kouame.
Reyes, however, isn’t a fan of comparing different Ateneo teams. For him, the present champions are also a product of their predecessors’ success — not just his batch, but all those who came before them.
“Their team would say their team, our team would say our team, but the only thing I would like to say is that I think the championship teams right now of Ateneo is also a product of us older guys paving the way and those guys who were before us,” the 33-year-old said.
“For us, the Ateneo community, we always see this as a building block for the future.”
Still, Reyes admitted that it would be nice to see that face-off, even quipping that it could actually be played — after all, the majority of Reyes’s teammates are still playing competitively at present.
“Pero that would be a nice match-up. Until now that game could be played,” said Reyes — who’s currently playing for Nueva Ecija, where he also serves as its head of basketball operations — with a chuckle.