JERWIN Gaco showed he got plenty left in the tank after the perennial PBA benchwarmer spent most of his D-League Aspirants Cup debut with Tanduay on the court and even leading the Rhum Masters to victory over Batangas on Monday.
After playing a meager seven minutes in four games in his last season with the Star Hotshots in the PBA, Gaco more than tripled his playing time in a single game, powering the Rhum Masters to an 86-66 dismantling of Batangas at the JCSGO Gym.
The 36-year-old fan favorite also made the most of his 25 minutes on the floor as he marked an impressive D-League debut with 22 points to go with 11 rebounds and three assists in a must-win game for Tanduay.
Rhum Masters coach Lawrence Chongson, who hinted at a lineup change last week after losing two in a row, was all too pleased with his new recruit — hopeful the five-time PBA champion's luck rubs off on the Rhum Masters.
"The whole country knows Jerwin Gaco. Sa PBA, swerte sya but he hardly plays. So sabi ko, marami pa syang laman sa tanke nya kasi na-preserve sya sa PBA," said Chongson. "Hopefully, sya yung hulog ng langit sa amin."
In true Gaco fashion, the ex-pro deflected credit for his string of good luck and was just thankful for the opportunity to keep playing while guiding younger cagers.
"Thank you kay coach Lawrence kasi binibigyan niya ko ng chance dito," he said. "Tsaka unang-una hindi naman [ako nandito] para maging eh, kailangan lang nila ng beterano na magga-guide sa mga bata."
"At least dito, nabigyan ako ng chance kahit papaano, kahit masakit na sa likod dahil matanda na tayo, nakakasabay pa rin," added Gaco, who admitted that a PBA comeback is still one of his goals.
"Andoon pa rin yung chance. Shempre gusto ko rin mapatunayan yung skills ko."