In twilight of his career, Cabagnot wants to hear cheers again
Alex Cabagnot waxed emotional when asked about the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) reopening to fans.
And understandably so, as he was in that last PBA game with spectators before the coronavirus pandemic upended life as we know it.
“You know, the last game played was at Araneta [Coliseum] was a San Miguel-Magnolia game. After that, everything [went haywire],” he said on Saturday night, on the heels of Terrafirma’s breakthrough win over Rain or Shine in overtime, 112-106.
“I can’t wait [for it to happen] and I can’t wait for my family to be able to watch because at I’m already at the tailend of my career,” the 39-year-old playmaker added.
Cabagnot was one of the two players powerhouse San Miguel dealt away in its continued bid tinker with its personnel. The other was Arwind Santos, who has now taken up an elder statesman role at NorthPort. Together, they steered the club to nine titles. Separately—even with their aging frames—they continue to be a steady contributor for their respective teams.
Like his pal, Santos is also looking forward to seeing basketball-crazed Filipinos in the stands, even saying that it’s “a must.”
“We all know just how much the fans mean to the PBA players. Without them, we’re nothing,” he said.
“We also have a duty to fulfill [to the fans]. We know that basketball is a prime entertainment for Filipinos. It’s also the No. 1 sport. But more importantly, this is a way for us now to provide relief to our countrymen,” he added.
Cabagnot and the Dyip, now 1-1, will be one of the first teams to welcome the fans’ return at the iconic Big Dome, the league’s perennial staging site. They play the Hotshots at 3 p.m., ushering a new era of sports in the country.
Only fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed inside the venue. Spectators, according to PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, will be asked to show proof of their COVID-19 shots.“I’m very thankful for the [national pandemic task force], the [local governments] for making it happen and for commissioner Marcial to stick his head out there for that,” said Cabagnot.“If this is the last two years [of my career], I want it with fans instead of playing in a bubble,” he added. INQ