SOMETIMES, wishes do come true.
That’s what happened to Cyrus Baguio, who admitted it was his wish all along to once again play under coach Yeng Guiao, who picked the veteran shooting guard in the 2003 PBA Rookie Draft and handled him for almost six seasons at Red Bull.
Now, Baguio’s career has come full circle as player and coach are reunited at NLEX after getting traded from Phoenix in a three-team deal last Tuesday.
“Parang feeling ko malapit na kasi ako mag-retire,” Baguio, who turns 37 on Saturday, admitted in a chat with SPIN.ph after his second practice with NLEX on Thursday.
“Alam ko naman na dun rin ang punta ng mga players eh, so mga ilang years na lang – siguro one or two – baka magpahinga na ako,” he added with a chuckle.
That’s why Baguio politely requested a trade from the Fuel Masters early in his stint there after getting acquired from Alaska.
“Wish ko talaga dati 'nung the last two conferences pa ata, nagpaalam naman ako,” the veteran shooting guard admitted. “Hindi naman ibig sabihin na ayaw ko sa Phoenix o hindi ko gusto yung sistema; in-explain ko naman kina coach at sa management na wish ko talaga, kasi nag-start ako kay coach Yeng eh. Gusto ko lang matapos yung career ko kay coach Yeng.”
“Basta maglalaro naman ako kung ano man ang mangyari, kung hindi matuloy o ano, basta give ko pa rin yung best ko,” he added. “Eh yun nga natuloy, so syempre mixed emotions rin na nakakalungkot kasi may samahan na rin kami sa Phoenix eh, at tsaka syempre happy din na nagkatotoo nga yung wish ko.”
Baguio is also relishing his reunion with former Red Bull teammates Larry Fonacier and Enrico Villanueva as he’s set to wear his Red Bull jersey No. 8 again.
What “Skyrus” won’t dust off, though, is his trademark headband that was as broad as his strides to the basket in his heyday.
“Yun nga eh, dami nga nagtatanong (about sa headband) eh, dahil bumalik ako kay coach Yeng, pati yung number ko, so headband na lang kulang,” the former University of Santo Tomas star said with a chuckle. “Pero wala na, hindi ko na kasi mahanap yung headband na ganun ka-lapad eh, so hindi na siguro. Okay na yung jersey.”
Baguio simply wants to live up to the character of playing under Guiao as well as be a mentor to the young guns especially Kevin Alas and Alex Mallari.
“Alam naman ni coach kung paano kami gamitin eh,” Baguio said. “Hindi naman siguro ibig sabihin na pagdating ko dito, malaki kaagad yung responsibility ko or load ng minutes; wala namang problema sa akin kasi marunong naman si coach mag-timpla.
“Excited kasi bukas na agad yung game namin. Sana magtuloy-tuloy lang yung panalo,” he added ahead of his debut on Friday night against Blackwater at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.