ACHIE Iñigo played his finest game with the Kaohsiung Truth on Saturday, making his sacrifices during the holiday season worth it.
For the first time in his life, Inigo found himself separated from his family on Christmas Day as he continued to train with the Truth, who signed up the former Far Eastern University guard for its campaign in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
Iñigo only got to go home in time to celebrate the New Year with his family, but only for a day.
“Mahirap kasi malayo sa family and first time ako nag-Pasko na hindi sila kasama,” Iñigo, a tinge of sadness in his voice, said on Monday in an online interview with SPIN.ph.
The consummate professional, Iñigo shrugged off homesickness and instead used the time to work on his game.
His effort paid off as he played a breakout game for Kaohsiung in its first game of 2017, finishing with 18 points, three rebounds, and four assists in a win over the Saigon Heat - the ABL ballclub's first of the season.
Although Kaohsiung lost to Alab Pilipinas the next day, Iñigo, one of the team's two Asean imports along with Raymar Jose, is already drawing praise from the Truth’s new coach Sabatino Chen.
“Achie is great. He’s my voice on the court. We understand each other, we have similar philosophies,” said Chen in an interview with the ABL’s official website.
Going forward, Inigo, who was picked in the third round by Phoenix during the 2016 PBA draft, said he is driven to make the most of the increased minutes he is getting in his ABL stint.
“Medyo parehas lang naman. Mas nalalabas ko lang siguro ‘yung laro ko dito,” said Iñigo. “Ang gusto ko ma-improve is maging mas matalino na point guard and be a leader sa loob at labas ng court.”