Game 5 hero Cabagnot confined in hospital on eve of semis duel
Little did anyone know, Alex Cabagnot was sick on the eve of the San Miguel Beer’s all-important Game 5 tussle against Barangay Ginebra in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
“I didn’t say anything to the coaches,” he shared. “I was just puking and releasing you know how it is, and I checked myself at Medical City at 10 p.m. and I spent the night there. I was confined until 11 a.m. today (Saturday). But I just really wanted to help the team. I didn’t want to say it in the beginning because I don’t want any excuses if we win or lose.”
Still not feeling 100 percent, Cabagnot tried his earnest to play at his best hours after checking out of the hospital.
He scored 12 points, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out five assists in 41 minutes on the floor, but saved his best for last as he scored back-to-back buckets in the final four minutes that took the air out of the opposition.
But Cabagnot wasn’t the lone hero for the Beermen as the rest of his team churned out a solid performance to close the series out in five games.
The veteran playmaker lauded the effort of reserves Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Von Pessumal, and Gabby Espinas, who helped ease some of the pressure off San Miguel’s starting five.
“We’re stepping up from the status quo that has been given to each player. Even though they’re coming off the bench, that doesn’t mean they’re less of a talent than the first stringers. It’s just the situation, but I love how everybody is stepping up,” he said. “Everybody could be a first five on any given day. It’s a tribute to their disposition that they can come off the bench and still produce. I love how they’re mentally engaged through every game.”
Returning to the championship series, Cabagnot shared that the feeling of competing for the grandest prize never gets old.
“No, it doesn’t. We’re as happy as we were the first time around,” he said, noting that continuing the Beermen’s dynasty and continuously racking up championships will remain as the team’s main motivation every game.
But more than the trophies, Cabagnot sees it as a chance for this San Miguel group to establish itself as the bar for this generation’s championship teams.
“I think, other than winning a fourth championship, I think coach and everybody else on the staff and management, they want to be labeled as the paradigm of Philippine basketball and I think that’s the ultimate goal that we’re striving for,” he said.