ALEX Cabagnot thrived in a bench role as a facilitator and was rewarded with a milestone in the process in San Miguel Beer’s breakthrough 106-94 win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the expense of Phoenix on Wednesday night.
Relegated to the bench to be the team’s Sixth Man, the SMB star playmaker dished out seven assists as he sparked SMB’s comeback in the second half on the way to their first win after starting the conference with three losses.
His seventh and last assist of the game at the nine-minute, 46-second mark of the game was the 2,939th of his career, moving him past Francis Arnaiz and into the Top 10 all-time in the assists leaders list.
“I wish my mom, my brother, and my family could’ve witnessed it,” Cabagnot said. “I’m glad we won, but it’s such a big accomplishment. Syempre naman being in the league for…it’s my 13th year, so to God be the glory.”
The 35-year-old cager was more focused on helping the Beermen fight back from a double-digit deficit rather than his imminent milestone which he became aware of only after the game.
“I was aware we were down by twelve. I wasn’t really aware of individual feats like that until coach Dayong (Mendoza) told me after the game,” Cabagnot said. “So it feels good. I think all the Top 10 members are all Hall of Famers and just being mentioned in their…is a blessing. Just happy right now.”
Cabagnot transitioned seamlessly into an off-the-bench role as he registered 13 points, seven assists, six boards, and one steal, and was tied with Renaldo Balkman for the highest plus-minus on the team with +17.
“Wherever coach puts me, I’ll be ready,” Cabagnot said. “If he puts me off the bench, if he starts me…he started me in the second half, so we made a run. I think we’re going to look at every single aspect of that game, dissect it to the best of our abilities so we could move forward and hopefully get a win on Sunday.”
“Moving forward, we have to go back to the drawing board, make sure we stay head of the learning curve, and just listen to all the coaches and what their inputs are,” he added.