Gaco takes on big brother role at Tanduay
Jerwin Gaco became the oldest player to suit up in the PBA D-League at 36 as he made his debut for Tanduay on Monday.
But in true Jerwin Gaco fashion, he just laughed off his new entry in the history books.
“It’s just age. I still can play. Age is just a number, as they say, but I know I can still play,” he said in Filipino.
The fan favorite showed he could do just that, immediately making his imprint with the Rhum Masters with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists in the 86-66 victory over Batangas.
However, the numbers in the stat sheets are no longer a concern for Gaco, who would rather focus on the task coach Lawrence Chongson gave him: to impart his knowledge to the retooling Tanduay squad.
“I was fortunate that my shots went in, but all I’m thinking is we have to win this game,” the five-time PBA champion said. “I have to be the leader because I’m their older brother here. In their last two games, they seemed to have lost their hope. But with this win, it looks like they got their confidence back, which is big because we still have a chance in the playoffs.”
Chongson is hopeful that this partnership will bear fruit in the end with his squad holding a subpar 4-3 record.
“The whole country knows who Jerwin Gaco is. I know he still has a lot left in his tank and hopefully, he’ll be heaven sent for us,” he said.
Hinting at player changes prior to the game against Batangas, Chongson is also positive that the risk he took with his new signings, which also included Dennice Villamor and Jaycee Asuncion, can make a positive impact for the Rhum Masters as they stayed in the hunt for the twice-to-beat advantage in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup quarterfinals.
“Even though they’re rusty, we have to make moves. After that two-game losing skid, we really had to dig deep in our treasure chest,” the mentor said.
Gaco understands how important it is to help Tanduay make it to the playoffs. Anything after that, he said, is just a bonus.
“Of course, I still want to show my skills here. I’m thankful for coach Lawrence for the chance to play here, but again, I’m here to be a veteran presence to guide the players,” he said. “I still keep my hopes up in getting back in the PBA. But for now, I just want to cherish the opportunity I get here because all I want is to play. If I get a chance, I’ll play, but if not, I’m still OK with that.”
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