FORMER University of the Philippines players Paul Desiderio and Diego Dario admitted they got schooled by San Miguel guard and Maroons assistant coach Alex Cabagnot during their PBA Philippine Cup game.
Cabagnot finished with 19 points and five assists in San Miguel’s 93-79 win over Blackwater, all the while scoring almost at will against Desiderio and Dario.
Cabagnot served as an assistant coach in the UP Maroons side led by Desiderio and Diego that got as far as the UAAP Finals last season.
“Siyempre, iba (si) coach Alex,” said Desiderio. “Alam talaga ni coach Alex kung ano at kung saan ang weakness ko. Kinain tayo ng buhay ng mentor natin.”
It was no different defending against the veteran SMB guard.
“Siyempre kailangan ko ma-stop si coach Alex. Parang ano ‘yun eh, teacher at saka student. Siyempre, panalo ‘yung teacher, wala tayong magagawa,” added Desiderio, who finished with four points, four rebounds, and two assists.
Dario shared the same sentiments.
“Sinabihan kami ni coach Bong [Ramos] na walang coach coach ngayon since we are all pros na,” said Dario, who was scoreless in seven minutes of play. “Pero when we were there, for coach Alex, wala rin coach coach. Inatake niya agad ako eh.”
“I actually thought I did a good job against him sa isang play. Pero wala eh. Coach Alex Cabagnot,” said Dario.
Despite the loss, the two former Maroons said they will cherish the experience of defending their coach.
“Siyempre, masaya. ‘Yung mentor mo sa college, nandiyan kalaban mo sa PBA. Parang iniisip ko na lang na nandito na ako sa pro eh so hindi ko iniisip na coach ko siya. Pero ‘yung respect, nandoon pa rin,” said Desiderio.
Despite being with Blackwater, Dario said he still continues to train with Cabagnot through trainer Diego Lozano.
“It’s a great experience. Two months ago, he was my coach. Tinuturo niya lahat ‘yung mga ginagawa niya. Ngayon, ginagawa na niya against us. Crazy what can happen in two months,” said Dario.