ALLAN Mangahas lives in San Pedro, Laguna but considers Muntinlupa home, more so now that he's playing for the Cagers in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
Mangahas, 30, has bounced around several teams in the PBA, the D-League and smaller leagues following his college career with Mapua, his last stint in the PBA coming with Meralco in 2015.
But his stint with Muntinlupa is unlike no other.
“Ten minutes away lang sa bahay,” said the 5-foot-11 Mangahas, who added Muntinlupa's home court will still be closer to his home even if Laguna fulfills its plan to form its own MPBL team.
“Mag-buo ang Laguna, pinakamalapit pa rin ako dito. Dito, nagmo-motor lang ako, 10 minutes away lang, kaya i-bike. Kapag Binan, four wheels pa ako, magmo-motor ako baka mahuli ako ng mga traffic enforcer. Eto ‘yung pinakamalapit na team na malalaruan ko,” said Mangahas.
Mangahas added he, along with brother James, played a lot of basketball in Muntinlupa when they were young.
“Okay naman, masaya kasi sobrang lapit sa amin. Para rin akong naglalaro sa mga liga-liga dito nung bata ako. Kaya medyo welcome na rin kami ni kuya. Lumaki kami sa San Pedro, kabilang bakod lang namin ‘yung Muntinlupa. Welcome na welcome kami dito. Parang local na rin ako nila. Marami na rin ako naging kaibigan dito,” said Mangahas.
No wonder Mangahas felt right at home on Tuesday night, playing the hero's role in a 72-69 win over Navotas that enabled the Cagers to complete a sweep of their best-of-three quarterfinal series.
Mangahas finished with 23 points, four coming in the dying minutes which gave the Cagers a 72-67 lead to the delight of a packed house at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex.
Mangahas and the Cagers are now in the semifinals where they will face either the Bulacan Kuyas or the Paranaque Patriots, who forced a deciding Game Three in their own quarterfinal series following an 81-54 win.
Mangahas said it is the support of the home crowd that makes his stint with Muntinlupa enjoyable.
“Siguro kaiba kasi makikita mo kung gaano ka-grabe ‘yung suporta ng crowd eh. Compare sa PBA o sa D-League, hindi ka naman sa home court naglalaro. Hindi ganito ang suporta kahit mag-finals ka except kung Ginebra ka. Malaking boost din ’yung nagiging home crowd para lumabas ‘yung mga laro namin at ma-push kami sa limit namin,” said Mangahas.