JERWIN Gaco maintains that there’s no conflict for him as he goes on double duty in the PBA D-League and the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL).
“Di naman conflict sa schedule eh. Magkaiba yung game ng MPBL at iba ang game dito sa D-League,” he said. “Nakita ko yung schedule ng games, di talaga tatamaan kahit sa practice. Dito sa D-League, two to three months lang. Doon naman sa MPBL, ten to 11 months yung liga, so sa isang buwan, halos two games lang ang ilalaro mo.”
Gaco suited up for Go for Gold when it made its conference debut in the 2018 Foundation Cup, taking the 88-75 victory over Batangas.
He will also play for the Imus Bandera in the 2018 Anta Datu Cup, which is set to open on June 12.
Despite being 37, Gaco showed that he can still hang with his younger counterparts, finishing with nine points and eight rebounds for the Scratchers on Monday.
And he wouldn’t deny that it was a statement game for him, especially after his contractual fracas in the MPBL.
Gaco has been practicing with MPBL newcomer Manila Stars for two weeks and has already had a verbal agreement with the team management before abruptly finding out that he was cut from the team just last Friday, three days before the deadline for the submission of final rosters.
“Medyo naipit ako sa sitwasyon na ginawa nila,” he lamented. “Last minute nila ako dinrop eh. Sinabihan nila ako June 1, tinext nga lang ako. Ang deadline ng MPBL is today, so parang nagahol ako.”
Gaco couldn’t help but express his disappointment on what he felt was a wrongful treatment that led to him desperately looking for a team in the days that followed.
“Nag-ensayo ako doon ng almost two weeks, nagkasundo na kami sa presyo, nagusap na kami, pirma na lang ang kulang. Pero ang labas sa akin, tinext lang ako na hindi na ako kasama sa lineup. Parang mali naman sa akin yun at parang ang unprofessional naman nilang kausap,” he said.
“Sa totoo lang, nung nalaman ko yung ginawa ng Manila, sobrang sakit. Para sa akin, sana kinausap man sana ako ng maayos, hindi yung text lang. Para naman akong rookie sa kanila.
"Sana sinabi nila ng maaga na tatanggalin nila ako. Ang hirap kumuha ng team eh. Maraming tumawag pero babaratin ka na. Syempre wala ka na ring choice at tatanggapin mo na kasi baka wala na akong mahanap na team eh.”
Lucky for Gaco, Imus came knocking on his doors as coach Jerry Codiñera was quick to seal a deal with him.
Despite what is perceived as him having divided attention between two teams in two separate leagues, the popular ex-pro promised that his game will remain the same whatever jersey he’s wearing and wherever league he may be.
“Walang problema kay coach Jerry at coach Charles yung sitwasyon ko. Alam naman nila na ibibigay ko pa rin yung best ko kahit saan ako maglaro,” said Gaco, a five-time PBA champion.