BEATING former team San Miguel in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) playoffs doesn't bring him extra pleasure, insists Froilan Baguion.
“Wala, trabaho lang. Professional lang,” said the 33-year-old point guard.
The Filipino import of Sports Rev Thailand Slammers played a huge role in their 62-60 victory over the top-seeded Beermen on Thursday night, dishing out the winning assist that led to Darongpang Apiromvilaichai’s game winner in the opener of their best-of-five series.
Baguion knows the team very well as he suited up for the Beermen last year when they lost to the Indonesia Warriors in the Finals.
However, Baguion said it wasn’t his familiarity with the team that made the difference in Game One, but the Slammers’ all-out defensive effort.
“Siguro ang pinaka-importante sa amin ‘yung depensa. Pinupukpok sa amin ang depensa. Sobrang talented sila (San Miguel), kailangan lang namin dumepensa. Basta one game at a time lang kami,” said the former National University star.
Baguion has actually played in all three ABL Finals since the league’s inception in 2009.
He was part of the Philippine Patriots team that won the league’s inaugural title, and then suited up for the Slammers the following year when Thailand swept the Philippines for the championship.
But despite winning Game One and stealing homecourt advantage from the Beermen, Baguion said it will still be a hard climb for Thailand to return to the Finals.
“Mahirap,” said Baguion when asked by Spin.ph about the fourth-seed Slammers’ chance of eliminating the heavily favored Beermen.
“Kung itataas pa namin ‘yung level ng laro namin. At ang importante sa amin, depensa. Walang opensa. Ang depensa namin ang magiging opensa,” Baguion said.
The prolific guard has been playing well under the system of head coach Joe 'Jellybean' Bryant, averaging 10.48 points and 9.24 assists in the regular season.
“Walang pressure. Go hard, laro lang. May freedom kami, may green light to shoot. Basta kahit sino tumira, basta may depensa lang,” said Baguion.