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With injuries recurring, Enrico Villanueva calls it a day


After 14 years that saw him earn a reputation as one of the pro ranks’ “bad boys”, Enrico Villanueva is calling it a career.

The 37-year-old Villanueva will be retiring with the NLEX Road Warriors, his home since 2014. NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao shed light on the development, saying that Villanueva’s reason is his recurring injuries.

“Mga ten years ago dapat nag-retire na siya eh,” quipped Guiao with a grin, moments after the Road Warriors’ 2017 Governor’s Cup campaign ended at the hands of Star Hotshots, 77-89, Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“He couldn’t get back into game shape dahil nagre-recur yung mga injuries niya, so talagang tinapos na lang niya tong season na ‘to,” added the multi-titled coach. “But it would have been [nice] if he was able to play and was healthy.

“Yun nga, problema niya the last few months was that maybe his body was giving up on him already, so that is the time to call it quits.”

The seven-time All-Star’s retirement this season could not be more fitting, as he will end his career with Guiao — the very same coach who had given him a chance in the 2003 PBA Draft by using Batang Red Bull Thunder’s seventh pick on him.

They may have only won a single title, but their time together, according to Guiao, extends beyond that. As the former PBA MVP candidate is about to leave the game, the 58-year-old had nothing but kind words for him.

“He’s created a lot of good memories, especially when we were together in Red Bull,” said Guiao. “He’s financially stable, so we don’t have to worry about Rico. I don’t have to worry about Rico — he’s going to be able to take care of himself.

“Nagawa na niya yung gusto niyang gawin with the basketball career [he had, and] that’s really more than anyone can ask for,” he pointed out.

“It’s been a privilege coaching him.”

#ReadMore  Yeng Guiao looks to tinker with NLEX backcourt: 'Maybe we should look elsewhere'
Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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