PBA: Cabagnot proves to be difference-maker for Beermen
Alex Cabagnot hasn’t been himself since reuniting with San Miguel Beer two conferences ago.
The old Cabagnot, however, showed up in the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals and his resurgence has been one of the big reasons why the Beermen are on the cusp of another finals appearance.
The veteran guard is quietly averaging 15 points, 5.3 rebounds and 10 assists through three games in the semis where his team is just a win away from arranging a finals rematch with the Alaska Aces.
“I’m just fortunate that we won today and hopefully, god-willing, we can close it out on Wednesday,” said Cabagnot after collecting 26 points, five rebounds, nine assists and three steals to help San Miguel Beer edge Rain or Shine, 114-108, in Game 3 Sunday night.
“I’m very thankful to God for giving me that opportunity to just keep playing, be aggressive and be assertive to help the team,” he added.
Coming into the series, Cabagnot is averaging just 8.5 points, 0.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists through 13 games.
Cabagnot is not only scoring and setting his teammates up, but he has also given San Miguel Beer more options on the offensive end with his old self back—creating more opportunities for his teammates to score and putting more pressure on Rain or Shine’s defense.
“When Alex is using the ball screen, the big man has to help and when the big man helps, it’s leaving me wide open. I’m getting a lot of good looks from 3 and I’m making a lot of 3s,” said Beermen import Arizona Reid on Cabagnot’s presence on the floor.
“It changes some things [defensively]. Actually, we have a game plan going in, not to say we don’t account for him he’s a talented player, he’s hit big shots for this team over and over but he makes us adjust quicker,” said Painters swingman Gabe Norwood. “We go into a game plan hoping he’s not on fire and he comes out with 13 points in the first quarter but when he does, when we adjust, it leaves us scrambling on defense.
The Beermen have other guards like Chris Ross. But Ross, known more for his defense, can’t put opposing defenses on its heels the way Cabagnot would especially when he’s playing this well.
Cabagnot is playing 36 minutes a game in the semis as compared to logging just 26 minutes a game in the elimination round and quarterfinals.
“Coming into this series, he hasn’t been shooting the ball that well. His minutes have been cut down. But he’s come out and he’s hitting his shots early in games and that’s just carries on through,” Norwood said.
Cabagnot, though, refused to take any credit and instead commended his team for playing as one unit.
“I’m just glad, as a team, I don’t really wanna speak for myself, we stuck together.” CFC