The journey had been long and at times, gruelling, but Cebuano shooting guard Moncrief Rogado might have finally found a home thousands of miles away from home.
This after he helped lead the Batangas City Athletics to the championship in the inaugural staging of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) on Thursday night.
In the Athletics' 68-66 win over the Muntinlupa Cagers, the former standout of the University of Cebu scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half to set the tone as they headed to halftime on top, 43-28.
And though he was held in check in the last 20 minutes of action, his early offensive explosion was more than enough to help Batangas finish off Muntinlupa.
Afterwards, Rogado cherished being able to get the job done in the face of hostility on their opponents’ home floor.
“It’s a different feeling to be able to do that on their home court. They have very passionate fans who really impact the game. But we were able to capture the title because we stuck to the game plan,” said Rogado, who together with reigning PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo, led UC to its very first Cesafi title back in 2010.
After that Cesafi conquest, Rogado embarked on a journeyman’s career that saw him play as a practice player in the PBA before landing on several teams in the D-League.
However, home may finally be this Batangas Athletics squad which, Rogado said, already placed him on the “protected nine” list prior to the league's expands next season.
And as much as he wants to return to Cebu to perhaps play in one of the rumored three teams that are trying to join the MPBL next season, Rogado said he will be sticking with the Athletics.
“I’m really grateful to Boss Bong (Tan) and Coach Mac (Tan) for giving me the chance to suit up for their team here,” Rogado, who was named after former NBA player Sydney Moncrief, said.
He also lauded the men and women behind the MPBL, which, he said, is giving a lot of basketball players the chance to pursue their dreams of playing professional basketball.
“It’s really important since it gives a lot of players nationwide exposure. Whether it’s players who want to get back to the PBA or those that want to get there, the MPBL has really given a lot of basketball players a chance to do so,” Rogado said.