‘It felt like I grew up here,’ says Alaska import on his MRT ride on way to PBA gameBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines – Not even players from Alaska and San Mig Coffee, who were set for a crucial tiff, were spared by the heavy traffic throughout Metro Manila due to the unrelenting rain and flooding that came with it Tuesday.
Stuck along Edsa, Aces swingman Dondon Hontiveros was left with no choice but to walk along with his son from Corinthians just to get to the game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City, on time.
Mixers center Yancy de Ocampo too, traveled on foot on his way to the game.
Alaska import Wendell McKines meanwhile, had to squeeze in his six-foot-four, 240-pound chiseled frame at the MRT Shaw Boulevard station.
“It was fun. It felt like I grew up here,” said McKines of the experience. “It was jampacked. There were a lot of people and they were looking at me like why is he not at the Arena yet.”
“It was a fun experience. I got to experience a little bit of the culture,” McKines added with a laugh.
San Mig Coffee point guard Mark Barroca, whom his coach Tim Cone said “is never late for a basketball game” also took the MRT to get to the venue.
“Yancy (de Ocampo) came in with his pants rolled up. First thing he did was take the shower,” said Cone.
Barroca’s teammates Joe Devance and import Marqus Blakely on the other hand, were picked up by one of the team’s ball boys on a motorcycle.
“We picked up Marqus with a motorcycle in the White Plains. We had four players who came in 10 minutes before the game started. Joe was the first of the four to make it.”
Alaska’s star guard JVee Casio was the last one to make it to the venue. He came in midway through the second quarter and it visibly affected his rhythm.
“That was fortunate for us, he (Casio) had to rush himself. People always talk about Calvin (Abueva) but he is always the key to the team. JVee really is the engine that makes that team run,” said Cone after the Mixers won, 95-82.