ALASKA star Cyrus Baguio may no longer be able to jump through the roof, but the drive to win a first-ever All-Filipino championship remains after coming up empty-handed in his first 10 years in the PBA.
The 33-year-old Baguio said he is keeping himself in tip-top shape in his bid to win a first Philippine Cup title for himself and a first for the Aces since the 2000 season.
“So far okay naman performance namin, lalo na `yung All-Filipino (last season). Kinapos lang kami ng huli sa Game Six,” Baguio told Spin.ph, recalling Alaska’s semifinal loss to eventual champion Talk `N Text in last year’s All-Filipino conference.
Baguio admits he has lost some spring in his legs, but the years of experience he gained playing in the league easily replaces his diminished vertical leap.
“Tina-try ko pa rin maging fit, kasi 33 (years-old) na rin ako. Matagal na rin ako sa PBA. Wala na `yung dating go-go-go na lang. Ngayon more on isip-isip minsan,” he added with a smile.
Alaska lost to Barako Bull, 90-93, a pre-season game on Friday, but the pride of Iligan City is confident the Aces remain a solid bunch this season with center Sonny Thoss, JV Casio, last season’s Rookie of the Year Calvin Abueva, and veteran Dondon Hontiveros returning for another tour of duty.
The core of the Aces is further reinforced by the presence of rookies Ryan Buenafe and Ping Eximiniano and veteran free agent Leo Avenido.
Both Buenafe and Avenido have been signed up by the Aces.
“Three players lang nadagdag sa team, saka beterano na naman eh,” said Baguio. “Si Ryan nakailang championship na rin iyan sa UAAP. Si Leo matagal na rin naglaro, saka si Ping may hustle.”
Alaska resumes its preseason preparation when it clashes with Globalport on Saturday.