VETERAN forward Dondon Hontiveros had mixed emotions after learning from San Miguel Corporation sports consultant Noli Eala in practice on Friday that his move to Alaska had been confirmed.
“Malungkot ako na masaya,” Hontiveros told Spin.ph, moments after appearing in what turned out to be his last practice with the Petron Blaze Boosters at the Acropolis gym in Quezon City.
“Malungkot, dahil alam naman natin mas malakas ang Petron ngayong taon at makakasama ko sana yung kababayan ko na si June Mar (Fajardo) sa team, pero nung binalita nga sa akin ngayon na tuloy na ang paglipat ko sa Alaska, eto na ang last practice ko sa Petron,” said Hontiveros.
But the 6’2” Cebuano hotshot said what made him feel better was the thought that Alaska wanted him so much that the Aces gave up big man Hans Thiele and Wesley Gonzales just to get him.
“Siyempre, masayang malaman na kahit medyo nagkaka-edad na ako, may value pa rin ako sa Alaska. Hopefully, makatulong ako sa Alaska, even though iba rin 'yung nagawa talaga ni LA (Tenorio),” added the 35-year-old many-time national player.
Eala said it was hard to release Hontiveros whose loyalty, excellent work ethic and consistent outside shooting has helped Petron become a perennial PBA contender.
Alaska is now Hontiveros’ fourth team in the league. The former MBA star starting his PBA career with Tanduay in 2000 before spending the next 10 years with San Miguel Beer (2001-2011), playing a vital role in the Beermen’s two championships – the 2004-2005 PBA Fiesta Conference and the 2009 Fiesta Conference.
He spent time with Barako Bull before finding his way back to Petron last year, only to spend most of his time on the bench due to injuries.
And now that he is entering his 13th season in the PBA, Hontiveros hopes to end his colorful PBA career with Alaska, where he’ll be reunited with Aces coach Luigi Trillo. Trillo served as one of Cebu Gems’ assistant coaches back when Hontiveros was still playing in the now defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association.
Trillo believes Hontiveros will be a huge help as the Aces try to put their 10-22 win-loss record the previous season behind them.