RANGED against the young player who not a few people have hailed as his second coming, Ginebra star Mark Caguioa made sure he had the final say.
Caguioa left it late on Thursday night as he scored a game-high 29 points, including 14 of Barangay Ginebra's final 16 points to put away a 109-104 win over a GlobalPort side led by sensational rookie Terrence Romeo.
The former league MVP said he was challenged by Ginebra team manager Al Chua to step up at a time when Ginebra had lost what once stood as a 21-point lead after an electrifying show by Romeo, who led Globalport back by scoring all but five of his 27 points in the second half.
“Coach Al reminded me din, and said, 'Hey, you guys got to take over. Sabi niya (Chua), alagaan niyo itong lead na ito,” recalled Caguioa. “Eh nung lumamang sila (Batang Pier) ng two points, that’s where I started to try to take over the game.”
In a shootout that represents perhaps the present and the future of the league, Caguioa showed up at his best during the final four minutes of the match, scoring two big three-pointers and a few driving layups against Romeo to rescue the Gin Kings from the jaw of defeat.
Making the feat more special, Caguioa scored the 650th three-pointer of his career, moving him into 12th place in the all-time list past the player he succeeded as Ginebra's heart and soul, Sonny Jaworski.
Later, he only had kind words for Romeo, who former Ginebra team
They Said It!
“I told Terrence (Romeo) to keep it up. He’s a good kid, but at the same time, he’s ready for the challenge. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.” - Ginebra star Mark Caguioa
mate Eric Menk said reminds him a lot of Caguioa. He later called the former UAAP star a "special talent."
“I told Terrence to keep it up. He’s a good kid, but at the same time, he’s ready for the challenge. He’s got a bright future ahead of him,” said the Ginebra star.
After the game, Caguioa and Romeo embraced at center court as they looked forward to their next meeting on January 17. Caguioa obviously enjoyed the moment.
“I just told him, 'Hey next game, I’m gonna see you again. Let’s do this again,'” Caguioa said.