GARY David’s debut in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) with Bataan may have ended unceremoniously after a sweep in the quarterfinals at the hands of Batangas, but it's still mission accomplished as far as the 39-year old gunner is concerned.
“Nagawa ko naman siguro yung mga dapat kong gawin,” David said after his home province dropped a 95-82 loss to Batangas last Saturday at the Valenzuela Astrodome.
“Coming from the professional league tapos nag-shift ako to MPBL, yung motto ko lang naman dito, makatulong ako sa liga at ma-promote ko ng maayos para atleast pag nag-click siya at nakilala siya, maraming mga young players at homegrown talent ang makikilala, lalo na sa amin sa Bataan yung mga players namin talagang homegrown talent,” he added.
Being one of the most accomplished players to play in the league's maiden offering, David expressed his gratitude for the respect and the adoration that he received in the duration of the tournament.
That doesn’t mean he held punches though as he came into the league looking to take heads – the same approach that he did when he won the PBA scoring title four times.
The pride of Dinalupihan, Bataan figured in many heated, physical encounters with younger counterparts and he can be seen often taunting and trash-talking opponents.
David explained it’s just his way of preparing these young players for what to expect when they enter the PBA.
“Napakalaki 'nung opportunity na mabibigay mo sa mga bata o sa mga ibang players na walang teams sa PBA, may chance sila dito maglaro at magpakita. Sa akin naman, I’m grateful sa binibigay sa akin na respeto ng bawat players, bawat ano sa akin talaga, na-overwhelm ako.Talagang tinitingila nila ako,” David said.
“Pero siyempre, basketball, it’s a part of the game na may physical or ano (trash talk). Tinuturan ko lang yung mga bata na maging pisikal at handa every game, pero yung respeto naman andun pa rin. Tuwang-tuwa ako at masaya talaga ako, lalong lalo na naipakita ko na kaya ko pa maglaro,” he added.
While most feel David is in this for the short term, the former PBA star said he is already looking ahead to the league's next conference.
His competitive spirit in full drive, David hopes to continue to hang with the younger talent and maybe, bring his Bataan squad deeper into the playoffs next time.
“Looking forward na ako sa next conference. Hindi lang basta-basta tong liga. Hindi lang basta-basta yung talent nung mga bata so ready lang ako. Back to basic ako,” said David.
“Papa-condition pa ako kasi ever since ito na ang hilig ko. Hangga’t walang injury at kaya pa maglaro, hangga’t kaya ko inspire yung mga kabataan at mga players na naglalaro, gagawin ko.”
By averaging 21 points and seven boards in 11 games for Bataan, David proved that given the opportunity, can still light up the scoreboard.
While he’s committed to playing for Bataan next conference, ‘El Granada’ said that he’s not closing the door on a return to the PBA . With the Commissioner’s Cup just around the corner, the timing couldn’t be any more perfect.
But what’s important for David is showing that he can still play at a high level and he continues to do so, whether it be in the MPBL or maybe a return stint to the pro.
“Tignan natin, magiging thankful lang ako. Open naman ang door ko. May contract ako pero may deal din naman kami ng Bataan. Kung may team na interisado sa akin sa PBA, why not, di ba? Bawat player naman yun ang dream e. Ang ginawa ko lang dito, pinakita ko lang na kaya ko pa maglaro.”