‘Vintage’ Cyrus Baguio shows up in NLEX win
Cyrus Baguio wiggled his way out against two defenders and just took off about a foot away from the restricted area before switching the ball to his left hand past the shot-blocking Rafi Reavis, up gently off the glass, and into the net.
Six teams and 15 years later, Baguio is still adding highlights to his mixtape.
Baguio is far removed from his best years and has a lot of mileage on his 37-year-old body, but somehow, he showed that he still has something left in his gas tank.
The dazzling and-1 drive was just part of Baguio’s team-high 17 points that helped NLEX stun Magnolia in Game 1 of their best-of-seven semifinals series Saturday night.
He went 5-of-6 from the field, including 2-of-2 from the three-point area, and collected five rebounds and four steals in a throwback performance.
“It was the vintage ‘no fear headband’ Cyrus Baguio who was playing earlier,” said Road Warriors rookie Kiefer Ravena.
Ravena was pertaining to Baguio’s younger days in the PBA where he used to wear an extra wide headband while obliterating defenses with his explosiveness and ferocity in attacking the rim.
Baguio hit his first shot of the game, a baseline turnaround jumper over Hotshots’ veteran guard PJ Simon in the second quarter, and he said making that attempt set the tone for him.
“I wanted to make sure that I’d be able to help the team because coach always puts me in the game so I kept it in mind that I need to contribute and help the team,” he said in Filipino. “I got off to a good start and that’s the most important thing for me which is to make my first shot. I got my confidence after that and it continued.”
The 6-foot-2 Baguio kept finding his mark, especially in the final frame, where he scored eight points.
“We’ve been waiting for this kind of game from Cyrus for quite some time now,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao.
“Actually, Cyrus is a steady influence even if he’s not scoring. He’s defending, he’s getting the rebounds, his quiet leadership is there and he’s mentoring the young guys so this is just a bonus for us Cyrus being able to score and be a factor like this in a game.”