By EUGENE FLORES
SAYING Caelan Tiongson was challenged on Friday when San Miguel Alab Pilipinas met his old team Macau Black Bears on Friday could be considered as a massive understatement.
Meeting his old running mates for the first time since transferring to Alab, the Fil-Am forward couldn't get more pumped defending guys like Anthony Tucker and Mikh McKinney, something he only did in the then-Chong Son Kung Fu practices.
"Playing against my former team, I was really excited to the challenge. Anthony and Mikh are two of the best players in this league. They’re two guys who taught me how to be professional and I was really thrilled, just matching up, competing against them," he said.
Tiongson only had six points and five rebounds in Alab's 106-99 win over Macau, but more than his numbers, he made sure to make life hard for Tucker and McKinney as the two had to grind just to get their usual numbers.
"It’s a fun experience," he said. "Those two guys taught me how to be professional so I really look up to those guys. And to go out there and compete and come out in a win, it means a lot to me."
McKinney also shares the same sentiments as he expressed his joy meeting Tiongson anew, albeit they're now on opposing ends.
"It’s cool to be able to go up against him. He is a friend and a teammate last year and it's just good to see him again," the Fil-Am winger.
Tucker finished with 22 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds, while McKinney got 18 points, seven assists, six rebounds, and three steals for Macau.
Yet, at the end of the day, it's Tiongson's side which had the last laugh as Alab stands on top of the ABL with their 7-2 card.
And for the 6-foot-5 banger, that's all he cares for after this reunion.
"It was fun. I love those guys, but I got new brothers now so it was fun to get a win with them," he said. "I’m happy I took the win. My whole team played really well and I'm just really happy about it."