WHEN it rains, it pours for Denok Miranda.
The veteran playmaker, who gained a new lease on his PBA career after signing a one-conference deal with Blackwater last week, could find himself in a significant role right away for the Elite in the Governors’ Cup.
With starting point guard Mike Cortez playing through a calf injury and the rest of the Elite’s young playmakers still unproven, Miranda could see substantial playing time in his return to the league after a long layoff.
The 11-year pro, however, was quick to play down his role for coach Leo Isaac.
“Basta sabi lang sa akin na mag-ready lang ako,” Miranda said in a chat with SPIN.ph on the eve of his return on Wednesday when the Elite face Meralco. “Tiningnan ko pa 'yung movement nung play namin eh tsaka yung players’ movement eh.”
“Ayaw ko rin biglain yung sarili ko,” he added. “Go with the flow muna.”
It has been two months since TNT Katropa bought out the remainder of his contract, but it’s been half a year – or February, to be exact – since Miranda last saw competitive action, having been buried on the bench during his time with TNT.
The 34-year-old cager returned to practice only last week and has tried to make up for lost time in training as he fights for playing time against young guns Roi Sumang, Jerick Cañada, Raphy Reyes, and the returning Juami Tiongson, as well as Asian import Imad Qahwash.
“Humabol naman ako,” Miranda said. “Nagpa-kundisyon naman ako the past week. Nag-extra na ako.”
“Kaso kulang pa rin yung preparation na yun dahil iba pag game eh,” the stocky 5-foot-11 combo guard was quick to add. “Mga ilang percent pa lang ako siguro. Tingnan natin yung kundisyon ko bukas.”
Miranda, who has averaged 6.9 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.7 boards, in 23.1 minutes in his 11-year career, stressed that his return is hardly a farewell tour, but a chance to prove he still has what it takes to be a starter who can help the team make the playoffs.
“China-challenge ko rin yung sarili ko,” the former Far Eastern University star said. “Ibibigay ko yung best ko. Kung kaya pa, kaya pa.”
“Pero kung hindi na, syempre ibigay na natin sa mga bata,” he added. "Kasi yung mga bata, gusto rin nila makapaglaro at mapunta sa naging position ko: na makapag-ipon sila at ma-expose sila sa basketball. Pinapasa ko rin sa kanila (ang experience ko).”
“Hindi naman ako yung swapang na player,” he continued. “Dati pa naman, sa FEU pa lang, team player na ako. Kahit anong mangyari, maglaro ako o hindi, go hard pa rin ako.”